'Right to Recognition:' The convergence of art and dance

“Right to Recognition, a body response to the Declaration of Human Rights,” a collaboration between mixed-media artist Linda Ost and Senior Professor of Dance at Western Washington University Pam Kuntz, combines human rights, images provided by Western students and an unconventional use of hand sanitizer.

“It’s the only art project I know where you get cleaner,” Ost said of the photo transfer process she taught to students in Kuntz’s dance history class.

The student-created work, along with the rest of the exhibition, can be viewed through Thursday, May 12 in Western's B Gallery. Close-ups of hands, feet and faces look as though they have been eroded or submerged under water. Text from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted in 1948) is layered with these images. The tiles that spell out “Right to Recognition” deserve a closer look, as do the carefully constructed tape bodies. Even on flat surfaces texture and tactile sensations are abundant.

The intersection of dance and social justice is a big part of what inspired this installation. As the exhibit text suggests, Kuntz and Ost are friends who enjoy sharing ideas back and forth. They met when Ost began taking Kuntz’s dance classes as part of the “over 60 waiver” program offered at Western Washington University.

Kuntz has taken an inclusive approach to teaching and performing dance for many years; she’s shared prisoners' stories through her work and taught classes for people affected by Parkinson’s.