Interview: Exhibition at University of Missouri

September 26, 2017

I’m interviewed here in Vox magazine by Caroline Watkins: “It Happened” art exhibit displays work created by survivors of sexual assault

The exhibit confronts the harsh reality of sexual assault through a variety of mediums

Quintan Ana Wikswo, a featured artist in the exhibition, describes why the discussion of sexual assault and gender violence on college campuses is so important.

“A lot of universities actively refuse to report rape or any kind of gender violence to the police, and there is a huge pressure on female students to be quiet,” Wikswo says.

Wikswo herself was brutally kidnapped and raped by two freshman males from Earlham College in 1992. The two students were never prosecuted, and the administration did not support her in her fight.

“I personally was told that the only way they would help me deal with it was if I sat in a room with the two students — I came back, sat in a room with the two students, and we ‘forgave’ each other,” Wikswo says, stating “forgave” sarcastically. Wikswo refused to attend the meeting recommended by her school because she felt it was unsafe and unethical.* 

Wikswo is now an artist and activist against sexual violence. Wikswo wants to show the ferocity of survivors and acknowledge a strength “so rarely celebrated and recognized and honored” through her art; she wants those affected by assault to be viewed as strong, resilient survivors, instead of vulnerable victims.

Her piece in the exhibit, titled “A Man Walked By and Wanted to Buy Us,” was created with old American cameras in collaboration with more than 50 survivors of sexual and gender violence. Wikswo made a pilgrimage to photograph places in the desert southwest where women [and all gender-based hate crime survivors], including the artist herself, experienced gender violence and sexual assault.

"A Man Walk By and Wanted to Buy Us"
Quintan Ana Wikswo/”A Man Walked By and Wanted to Buy Us.” This work is currently on display at the “It Happened” exhibit, curated by Katina Bitsicas and Lee Ann Woolery. 


Wikswo emphasizes there are many places where sexual violence occurs that are often times unassuming, and her art highlights these sites to remind others that those atrocious acts cannot go unseen.