Immigrant exhibit, discussion at Maag Library

One of the women in YSU's "Women of the World" exhibit.

Tania is one of the women featured in the “Women of the World” exhibit.

Women of the World: A Photographic Journey of New Americans in the Mahoning Valley,” featuring photographs of immigrant women who have settled in the Mahoning Valley, opens 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8 on the fifth floor of Maag Library on the campus of Youngstown State University.

The event, part of YSU’s celebration of Women’s History Month, also features a panel discussion titled “Immigrant Women, International Perspectives” in honor of International Women’s Day. The panel, sponsored by YSU’s Women’s History Month, Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor and Maag Library, will feature campus and community members whose immigration experiences are documented in the photographic and video exhibit. G. Mehera Gerardo, director of YSU Women’s Studies, will moderate the discussion. Light refreshments will be served.

The exhibit, featuring photos from award-winning photographer and filmmaker Maria Bleahu, provides a glimpse into the lives of immigrant women from across the globe – China, Ethiopia, France, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Palestine, Peru, Russia, Syria, Ukraine and Vietnam – who currently live in the Mahoning Valley. Photos are mounted alongside a short biography of each subject.

The exhibit also includes a video presentation with excerpts from interviews with the women. Launa Buetell of MainStreem Music Inc. designed and created the video presentation, while Rosemary D’Apolito, YSU associate professor of Sociology, Anthropology and Gerontology, conducted the interviews. D’Apolito is also responsible for organizing various aspects of the project. The photographs and streaming video will be on display throughout the month of March on the fifth floor of Maag Library as part of the ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month.

Bleahu, a native of Romania, earned a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and a bachelor of fine arts degree in photography, both from YSU, and is currently head of the video department at Stark State College in Canton, Ohio. She received a filmmaking certificate from the New York Film Academy. One of her films, “The Fastest Gun in the West,” placed 14th at the Cannes Film Festival and won five award nominations at the Soho Film Festival in London.

The exhibit is made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. At its September 2011 opening at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, the exhibit drew more than 200 visitors. In April, the exhibit will travel to the Trumbull Art Gallery.

For more information on Women’s History Month events, contact Gerardo at or 330-941-3459.