By Ahmed Abukwaik || Contributing Writer
Too often, the Arts are an inaccessible discipline. In an interview with Professor Sandra Eula Lee, she addresses projects and exhibitions at F&M that represent what I believe to be important cultural shifts that are necessary within the artistic space.
First, the WGSS Digital Archive is working towards addressing some of the hierarchical aspects of the arts and other disciplines as well. The arts are equally prone to prioritizing specific modes of information. This topic is intensely debated, and working to challenge it requires initiatives such as the WGSS Digital Archive. The archive is offering an approach that “decenters” the written form. The archive began during the pandemic and will continue to be growing for the next few years. Students can submit creative fiction, blogs, audio recordings with transcripts, and more. The different types of projects and modes of expression are central to the archive, says Lee. The program is being sponsored by the women and gender studies program and the faculty supervisors are Professors Lee and Megan Tripp. Students can continue to submit year-round.
A second major talking point brought up by Professor Lee is the student capstones. The display Professor Lee describes these capstones as “four years of exploration” for students. An interesting moment during the interview was when Lee said, “At first, the new facility [the Winter Visual Arts Center] felt like a museum, but now they’ve been able to spread and utilize it for their art because the building is for them.”
This is a striking testament to one dimension of what the WVAC truly represents: a “museum” for the college’s donors and the entire campus community. Students will be presenting works that use various modes from drawing and animation to sculpture. Lee says, “The culmination [of working towards a capstone] is so key because it is making work and responding to the world, and then sharing it and putting it out into the public for the reception.” This is the point in an F&M art student’s academic career to express their abilities for viewers to appreciate. For those looking to view their work, it will be on display at the ground level of the Winter Visual Arts Center between April 18th through April 28th.
The final project mentioned by Lee is her own exhibition Slow Burn. It is currently on display at the Phillips Museum. The central theme of her exhibition is transformations as they relate to our bodies, our lived experiences, the built environment, and how change is central to our experience. She uses materials such as copper and defunct electronics to capture “cycles of change” in our daily lives. She highlighted the portable pond as one of the most important aspects of the exhibition. The pond is made out of industrial and synthetic products and “is a space of reflection and contemplation.” To learn more, you can attend her talk on the exhibit on March 3rd at 5:00 pm at the Rotham Gallery.
Images from Slow Burn. Courtesy of fandm.edu.
Ahmed Abukwaik is a Contributing Writer for the College Reporter. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.