An Exhibition Series Celebrating 50 Years of Women at Lehigh

Jennifer Williams • Lydia Panas • Sandra Eleta

Hear Me Roar—whether that phrase conjures Helen Reddy or Katie Perry—it declares the fierce power and resilience of women across many generations.  In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first class of undergraduate women at Lehigh, LUAG presents a series of exhibitions focusing on individual women photographers represented in its collection.  In particular, these exhibitions in multiple sites across campus highlight women photographers whose presence in the collection has grown over the last 10 years since the landmark exhibition and catalogue Women Photographers that coincided with the 40th anniversary year 2011.

Jennifer Williams American, b.1972.  Jennifer Williams’ layered photographic constructions capture our ever-evolving physical surroundings. Her series, The Highline Effect, explores the New York City High Line’s role as a unique form of adaptive reuse of urban infrastructure, revealing how shifting perspectives change the nature of space. Recently, Williams' work has been featured in exhibitions at the San José Institute of Contemporary Art [CA], The Hunterdon Art Museum [NJ], and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts [PA].  Williams has received many awards, including the A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship, and the NARS Foundation International Artist Residency.  She is currently an Adjunct Professor at The Cooper Union and is represented by the Robert Mann Gallery in New York, NY. [Lena Weisman ‘22, IDEAS]

Lydia Panas American, b.1958.  Lydia Panas’ photography and video work focuses on the intricacies of identity and what lies below the surface. She explores the themes of feminism, closeness, and the roles of power and trust on both sides of the camera, working to describe both physical likeness and emotional capacity from the standpoint of the woman and the human being. All of her work is captured in the fields and forests surrounding her seventy-acre Pennsylvania farm. Panas’ work has been featured in exhibitions across the United States and internationally, including in the Brooklyn Museum [NY], Museum of Fine Arts Houston [TX], and the Allentown Art Museum [PA]. She has received many honors, including a nomination for Prix Pictet and PDN 30, and won first place awards at CENTER, the London Calling Competition, and the Conscientious Portfolio Competition. [Lena Weisman ‘22, IDEAS]

Sandra Eleta Panamanian, b.1942.  Sandra Eleta has dedicated her career to photographing the women and culture of her birth country Panama. Her work focuses on portraying lives in the sub-district around the port of Portobelo.  She established a relationship with the people there over time through the process of producing her photographic essays of their culture. Eleta’s Portobelo series gave rise to her distinguished reputation as an artist admired for engaging black and white photographs. In addition to her photographic work she is committed to helping the community, forming an all-female arts group known as Grupo Portobelo as well as Taller Portobelo, an art cooperative geared towards the preservation and improvement of Panamanian lifestyle. Eleta’s 40 years of work were recognized in 2010 by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Panama City. [Lena Weisman ‘22, IDEAS]

View the entire exhibition on Artstor.

View Part IV on Artstor.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Soaring Together: Celebrating the Women of Lehigh: From Spring 2020 to Spring 2022, Lehigh will mark the 50th year of undergraduate women with a celebration that includes events, programs, and projects planned and executed by departments, centers, and organizations across the university. These include unique events, lectures, programs, and student projects, as well as existing events and programs with related content. Learn more here.