Veronique Plesch (art) and Maggie Libby ’81 (art, Special Collections) will present “Commemorating Colby Women” at the ninth International Association of Word and Image Studies Conference in Montreal, August 22-26.

An art major at Colby, Libby works in the libraries as a visual resources curator and in Special Collections. In Special Collections, where the College’s archives are kept, her work provided the impetus for her current series of portraits.

Years ago, as she walked past the Presidents Room, she noticed the walls lined with a series of portraits of men. “Where are the women?” she wondered. As Libby learned in the College archives, Colby had been at the forefront of women’s education. Early female students were pioneers, but surprisingly little information about them remains.
So, in 2004, Libby started working on series of paintings, drawings, and installations titled “Where are the Women? Portraits of Colby Women, 1875-1904.” She seeks to make these women visible and to create a site for commemoration. But what kind of commemoration is it? How exactly does the Portraits of Colby Women series — paintings, videos, and installations — function?

The joint presentation will discuss the nature of this commemorative endeavor and the means used to create it — the different artistic mediums, the combination and interaction of words and images, and the participatory nature of the project.

Read a 2005 Colby magazine story about Libby’s project.