Plaster boobs, sketched out nudes, and witty attitudes

<strong>Figure Drawing</strong>

Women returned to the Women&rsquo;s Centre March 6, this time for a sketching session of some female nude models.&nbsp;

Throughout the course of the evening, the space was filled with the sounds of pencils scratching across paper. Eyes flashed up and down as the participants etched out the limbs, breasts, torsos, and faces of the models, their styles as different as the bodies of the women they drew. The atmosphere was calm and warm, without a hint of discomfort or trepidation. 

It was within this natural feeling space that the sketchers were able to explore the diverse aspects of female sexuality.

“I think it’s interesting to see these people and how they … express themselves through their bodies … and to see where people are at in terms of their level of being comfortable with this,” said Melissa Johns, as she waited for the event to begin. 

Some of the women came to the event because they wanted to test their own comfort levels by drawing other women’s bodies up close. One of these women was Sarah Ruffel, a science student.

“It’s just very outside of what I normally do, so I thought it would be interesting to see what’s going to happen,” Ruffel said.

When the modeling session ended, the participants all came together, smiling and complimenting each other’s drawings as well as each of the models’ respective work.

Bust Casting

On the first day of International Women’s Week, women walked into the Women’s Centre, pulled off their shirts and bras, and slathered their breasts with Vaseline and wet plaster. Once the casts were set on Monday, March 3, the casts were pulled off and left to harden overnight.

The next day, the students returned to paint their creations. Some of the women decorated the casts bright and colourful, some earthy and stark, but all made theirs into intimately unique pieces of art.

Overall, opinions of the event were extremely positive, including those from the participants who had never done a bust cast before. For the first timers, it was an unusual and slightly sheepish experience, but a nonetheless worthwhile and fun one.

“It was so awkward,” said Naomi Wilkes, one of the participants. “Just because you’re trying to put the layers on you without moving because you have to let it set … it’s like pulling out your body hair. It was just funny to deal with it.” 

Another new bust caster, Lindsay Chatterson, agreed while gently brushing on delicate flower petals on the underside of her cast.

“I’ve never done casting of any body part of mine,” Chatterson said. “I’ve never been so casually shirtless with females before … but it was kind of liberating … and it was cool just to be able to form something to your chest and now make art out of it to appreciate your body … instead of viewing it as only something that would attract the opposite sex or a mate. It was cool to make art out of it in a not sexual way.”  

Comedy night

A large crowd of people converged in Hagey Hall’s Humanities Theatre March 6 for a live performance event titled Comedy Night for Your Rights, hosted by WPIRG. 

The show featured two comedians, Kristina Wong and Hari Kondabolu. Both entertainers had distinct acts. Kondabolu’s was a compilation of life occurrences that he used to talk about things like racism, religion, and gender, while Wong’s act focused mainly on her experiences trying to be an ecofriendly activist by driving a car that ran on vegetable oil. Both comedians were very well received by the audience, who clapped, snapped, laughed, and cheered at their jokes.

During an interview, Wong and Kondabolu expressed why comedy is such a fitting method to address a variety of social issues in the world.

“In terms of oppressed groups sharing their stories, comedy’s incredible, it always has been,” said Kondabolu. “It has provided a voice for so many people to share their stories through laughter. It’s a way to sneak things in.” 

According to the comedians, comedy has many other uses beyond generating laughs. For example, it can be used as a defence mechanism, or even as a means to take revenge on someone else in a non-threatening way. This was demonstrated by Wong, who got back at the man who sold her the junky car by making fun of him in her show that night. 

“I think you’re actually in a more powerful position if you’re the one not screaming,” Wong said. “If you’re the one who’s laughing and just holding a mirror up and turning their, the oppressors’, energy against themself [sic] … you just are basically holding a mirror up to the problem and showing how ridiculous it is.”