Art and Intersectionality event expresses students’ multifaceted identities

Trinity Diversity Connection’s kicked off the university’s Diversity Week by inviting students to learn about identity and intersectionality

To begin the university’s Diversity Week, Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC) hosted an Art and Intersectionality Day in the Fiesta Room where students were invited to decorate tote bags. Using patches, paint, pins and more, students were encouraged to adorn the tote bags with items and ideas that celebrated their complex and multifaceted identities. 

 The event was planned by TDC’s Traditions Committee — sophomore Niloofar Madanizadeh, junior Julie Bondy and first-year Melika Mohammed. 

“We wanted the first event of the week to be informative about both identity and intersectionality, so we tied that in with making an activity that would sort of attract the larger student populace,” Madanizadeh said. “We wanted an event that would attract students who don’t normally come to TDC events, but then also have an informative aspect with whatever we did that can maybe change somebody’s perspective in some regard.” 

Madanizadeh also explained the logistics of the event. Students were invited to decorate denim tote bags with various art supplies. Decorating the bag was meant to encourage students to represent different facets of their identity.  

“We had patches, paints, different buttons, letters — stuff like that — that individuals at the event could use to decorate the bag. In tandem with that, we gave pamphlets away that our committee created with information about what intersectionality is.” 

The committee said that informing the student body about this recent buzzword was the aim of the Art and Intersectionality event.

In all its forms, art has historically been used to express individuals’ identities, from wrestling with an inherited identity and searching for a more comfortable sense of self to using color, shapes, words or music to express the heart of a person. Making the event interactive and hands-on was meant to facilitate students’ self-expression. Madanizadeh added, “Intersectionality was the theme of the event, but [we wanted to give] students the outlet to maybe show and share different aspects of their identity, while also learning about this idea of intersectionality.” 

The committee decided to make art a part of this event in order to give students an opportunity,  allowing space, time and resources to express themselves. And because the topics of identity and intersectionality are firmly related, conveying an individual’s identity was at the heart of the event. 

“[Art] is just fun and it also has a self-expressive aspect to it,” Madanizadeh said. “We’ve done events in the past where students just come and pick something up, but I think the events where somebody can come and do something for themself attract more students.”

Mohammed was the only committee member who was able to attend the Art and Intersectionality event. But the event was an organization-wide effort, with many members not on the traditions committee taking shifts and helping out. All the TDC members who helped with the event had to think on their feet, turning to T-shirts and leftover tote bags when the original supply of denim tote bags ran out. 

Many students view college as a time to find themselves, figure out who they are and try on various identities. The search to find oneself can be exhausting, especially if we conceive identities as clothing that can be put on and taken off. And if we never find ourselves, the search becomes unending. This event allows students to acknowledge the diverse threads that build one’s identity without discarding those threads that are difficult to face. The event helped create an atmosphere of accepting the multifaceted, often difficult-to-capture aspects of individual identities.