An exhibition to raise awareness


Annabella Mireles

Artist Jacki Downing, a graphic design student, painted Frida Kahlo on a guitar.

Angelica Gutierrez, Contributor

The opening of the Women’s History Month art gallery took place Monday, March 6 at UTEP’s Union Gallery, featuring both local and UTEP artists. The event started at 6 p.m. and hosted by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program who invited musicians to play and sing live while people walked around the gallery admiring unique art pieces.  

The Union Gallery runs throughout the school year and is constantly changing its exhibitions. The gallery displays artwork of UTEP students and also the El Paso community from time to time.  

Entrance is free and welcomes anyone who would like to see local art.  

According to the Student Engagement and Leadership Center’s mission, “the Union Gallery offers a meaningful platform for University students to acquire a sense of belonging on campus.”  

The UTEP Music Department was invited to perform songs that would resonate with Black feminists and women in general. One of the songs was called “I Am Not An Angry Black Woman,” performed by Abeni Janae, and it was performed to demonstrate that the Music Department also has Black art that must be shown.   

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  • Artist Margaret DeAnn Johnston-Barber, UTEP Art Student, has her mushroom and fairy realm sculpture on display.

  • Artist Michael Barber’s “Key to Life,” an installation mixed medial oil on wood with metal sculpture shows how “abortion rights in this country have taken a turn for the worse.”

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“The purpose of this art gallery was to commemorate or kick off Women’s History Month here at UTEP and at the community. So, we invited the entire community and not only UTEP students to submit their art and show us their renditions of what it means to be a woman,” said Hilda Ontiveros, Ph.D., Interim Director of UTEP’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program. “We wanted to bridge it with Black History Month because it just ended, so we wanted to bridge it with Black feminism.”  

A tree made of cardboard was placed at the entrance of the gallery with the intention of women hanging pieces of paper containing their stories and struggles of being a woman.  

The importance of this activity is to give a safe space for women to voice their day-to-day fights and the reason for doing it.   

The first submissions displayed at the gallery were ones that reflected the feminicides in Latin America, especially in Ciudad Juárez. It is important to create awareness about Mexico’s heartbreaking situation regarding women since, according to Amnesty International U.S.A., 10 women are killed every day and more than 20,000 women are missing countrywide. Mexico is failing at protecting their women and opening investigations.   

“My favorite piece was the one that painted a rendition of the Ni Una Más movement from Ciudad Juárez because that’s something very important to me,” Ontiveros said on this art submission, “It’s like my research interest and my research focus is the feminicides in Ciudad Juárez and throughout North America.”  

The gallery showed not only paintings but sculptures, drawings, digital art and more. Some represented Black women and others the fight for abortion in the country.   

“What I really liked about this exhibit was that it demonstrates that UTEP is a place to talk about nowadays problems,” said a UTEP student. “It is important to feel heard without being attacked and the exhibit is just that.”  

This exhibition will remain open throughout Women’s History Month. Pay a visit to educate yourself about feminicide, abortion, Black women and more.    

Angelica Gutierrez is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]