Randall Library and the Women’s Studies and Resource Center celebrate Women’s History Month with a new exhibit by artist Heather Ault. Ault will be on campus Wednesday, March 18th at 5:30 p.m. for a meet-and-greet with attendees.
Women have been making responsible decisions about pregnancy for thousands of years. Throughout its existence, the pro-life movement has successfully relied on images of the fetus to communicate its message. Pro-choice feminists responded in the 1970s with the equally-provocative wire coat hanger, symbolizing the dangers of the pre-Roe v. Wade era. In a more positive response, artist Heather Ault has turned to life-affirming images that recall ancient reproductive practices and the proud legacy of generations committed to healthy lives for women and their families.
"4,000 Years for Choice"** is a global story of women's reproductive empowerment and their efforts to prevent and end pregnancy across centuries. These posters present abortion and contraception within the context of our shared human history. This exhibit includes stories about abortifacient plants and herbs, including artemisia, pennyroyal, aloe vera and Queen Anne's lace; early contraceptive technologies, such as diaphragms, IUDs and cervical caps; and commentary from historical figures about reproductive control, including Plato, Socrates, Casanova, Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger.
Sharing stories from history about reproductive choices, in all of their complexities, rarely plays a part in the public conversation. Ault's images have the ability to inspire creativity, curiosity, and conversation, as well as expand the visual vocabulary for reproductive rights.
Heather Ault is an artist, designer, and activist living in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about these projects and upcoming exhibitions, or to purchase artwork, visit www.4000yearsforchoice.com. For more information about Heather's visit and for a complete list of campus events for Women's History Month, click here.
*This reception will cause slight noise on our dedicated quiet floor. Apologies for the inconvenience.
**Any views or opinions presented in this exhibit are solely those of the artist and do not represent those of the university.