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"Victorious Secret" exhibit and panel discussion at Tisch

This fall, Tisch Library is serving as the 11th host of the mosaic installation Victorious Secret: Noticing Elite Sports for Women, 300 A.D., created in 2012-2013 by artist Angela Lorenz. In conjuction with the exhibit,Tisch & the SMFA are hosting a panel discussion featuring Lorenz during Tufts Parents and Family Weekend. “Victorious Secret: Women athletes in ancient and modern times” will take place on Saturday October 20th from 12:30-2:00 pm in the Hirsch Reading Room at Tisch.

Victorious Secret on display in Tisch Library

Image source: Tisch Library

The installation's set of three triptychs is based on a famous cycle of 4th century Roman mosaics in Sicily. The Piazza Armerina mosaics depict a series of female figures, characterized for centuries as “bikini girls” holding rattles and tambourines in their hands.

"Bikini girls mosaic" Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

In fact, through research and in consultation with archaeologist Isabella Baldini Lippolis, Lorenz discovered that these women are elite athletes in international competition, rather than the dancers, performers, or musicians they were long-believed to be. Lorenz's work isolates the women’s torsos and eliminates their faces, emphasizing their subligar, or bikinis, which have historically been the focus of attention. It also demarcates what should instead be the focus: their athletic instruments, and the palm of victory awarded.

Victorious Secret triptych with crown and bikini

Image source: Tisch Library

The mosaics were created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which since 1972 has helped to address inequalities in women’s sports programs at American schools. 

Victorious Secret is on view in the lobby of Tisch through December. For more information and photos, visit the project’s website.

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