Art, Globalization, and Consumerism

A recent exhibit in St. Thomas University’s Yellow Box Gallery had visitors—specifically students—questioning where and how their clothes were manufactured.

Fine Arts professor Kim Vose-Jones said the idea for the exhibit came from classroom discussions.
“In my Art Theory class we have been studying globalization and art projects that actively engage the community,” Vose-Jones said.
Visitors were invited to explore it as a meditation on globalized labour conditions, bridging the chain between consumerism and point of production.
“As a group, we went up to the Yellow Box to interact with the project and discuss how it changes and challenges traditional interaction with a gallery space. It turned into a very interesting geography lesson as well. It touched on many subjects we have been studying,” Vose-Jones added.
A large world map was installed in the gallery and visitors were invited to trim off tags from their own clothing and pin them on the map, marking geographical points of manufacture as listed on those tags.

Fourth-year student Rizanne Roach-Lucas found the project refreshing and enlightening.

“It showed people that their clothes do not come from the name brand companies in America or Europe, but rather from factories and sweatshops in Asia,” Roach-Lucas said. “Hardly any of the tags that we made came from Canada or the United States. It forces you to realize how much big companies exploit other countries where the labour and pay are cheaper.”
With two more exihibits scheduled for the academic year, Vose-Jones hopes to see more students visiting the Yellow Box Gallery.

“One of the goals of the exhibit is to cross -pollinate with what students are studying in other classes. The gallery is trying to actively engage the students as much as possible this year.”
The Yellow Box Gallery is located on the second floor of the Dr. Daniel O’Brien Study Hall in Margaret Norrie McCain Hall.