Protesters took to the streets of Paris and onto the Internet after the attack at the offices of the weekly satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Here on campus, design and jewelry instructor Kay Yee informed students and faculty by creating a small display in the Center for the Arts celebrating freedom of expression.
Yee was inspired to create this display by her design students’ unfortunate lack of knowledge regarding the murder of 12 cartoonists and writers at the French magazine’s headquarters on January 7.
“On the first day of my design class we were discussing how symbols could evoke emotions so I asked what a pencil symbolized relating to current events,” Yee said.
“I was completely surprised that only four students knew about the attack, “ Brady Hunt, Yee’s assistant, added. “I thought everyone would know because of social media.”
Aside from the display commemorating the victims she gave each of her students an opportunity to make and wear their own statements by constructing mini pencil pins.
“I displayed twelve full-sized pencils for each of the victims and then made the little pencil pins for students and staff to wear as a symbol of free speech,” Yee said.
Soon after the students had made their pencil pins and the “Je suis Charlie” display was put up other staff and students began asking about the pencils and everyone joined in the creative process.
“This was all a spontaneous little project but it was effective in getting the message out and making students more aware of what is going on in the world,” Yee said.
Filmmaking professor Lindsey Jang and his class even stopped into the jewelry studio to document and join in the simple crafting process.
With pencils, pin backs and a little glue, Yee helped educate her students on the importance of freedom of speech.
“It is important for everyone to be aware of their freedom of speech and what is going on in the world,” Yee said “Jewelry can make a statement too.”