ARTS AND HUMANITIES: Art exhibition focuses on democracy | Feature Columns


Voices Made Visible is the title of the most recent exhibition at the Aiken Heart for the Arts. Opening just final week and functioning right until July 28, the clearly show focuses on the “majesty and plurality of voices, earlier and present, that have formed, and go on to shape, our countrywide dialogue.”

How was this particular subject matter chosen? The response is simple. The exhibition is intended to health supplement on a regional amount the Smithsonian traveling exhibit “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America” opening at the Aiken County Historic Museum on July 23.

Themed exhibitions can be hit or overlook. One particular in no way understands what sort of harvest will end result from an open contact for entries for any juried clearly show, even just one such as this, which is giving over a $1,000 in prize funds. Even so, Caroline Gwinn, the center’s government director, was pleased by the area response in each quantity and excellent. In fact, above 40 submissions have been been given by the deadline.

Let’s look at some of the standout parts, which can be about divided into two groups: those people that concentration on the spirit of The united states by offering particular person responses to some of our country’s enduring symbols and individuals that highlight the evolving character of our grand democratic experiment.

In the to start with group, eagles seem in abundance. At any time because the bald eagle appeared on the Terrific Seal in 1782, this fabled fowl has represented in the common creativeness “the land of the cost-free and the house of the courageous.” The title of Marie Thomasson’s impressive stitched-felt eagle makes reference to the bird’s multiform use: “Always a Image of …”

Whilst Thomasson’s cloth sculpture depicting a perched chook reminds Us citizens of the want to continue to be at any time vigilant of the dangers, both of those exterior and internal, to our democracy, Josef Vincent Hathaway’s acrylic rendering titled “Eagle’s Cry” focuses on the sheer exuberance professional by those who are actually no cost. His fowl flies straight at the viewer, a flag clutched in its talons. The reality that this central figure is framed by the moon reminds us of America’s grandest achievement in place, the moon landing, and how superior we can access when we set our collective sights on any seemingly difficult target.

Flags are also omnipresent in the current display. Noble Diller’s “O Say Can You See” will make visible reference to the flag that impressed the composition of Francis Scott Key’s patriotic poem in 1814. Composed of 100 canvas squares, the 15-starred flag graphic is framed in black and brown on the appropriate to point out the smoke of the overnight bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor and framed in yellow on the left to depict how the flag ongoing to wave, inspite of all odds, in the “dawn’s early mild.”

A further countrywide image – in this circumstance, the Statue of Liberty – is supplied a voice by Karen Santos. Her blended media depiction titled “Liberty Speaks” makes use of the iconic statue to comment on the universal cares and issues of motherhood. Beneath the noble head of the female personification of liberty, the artist has draped photographs of multi-ethnic ladies and young children close to the copper crown float the words and phrases “Mighty Mother” and fragments of the famed sonnet by Emma Lazarus.

In accordance with the “welcome” Woman Liberty offers to all those who look for sanctuary on these shores is a score of is effective in this exhibition that make reference to the struggles several of our citizens, specially users of minority communities, have faced to attain the American dream.

Emily McBurness’s pop artwork “Your Voice, Your Vote, Women’s Rights” features a smiling African American female, her fingernails painted purple, white and blue, casting a ballot. June Clement’s “Stand Up” depicts a single of the massive-scale demonstrations organized in our nation’s money, like the 2017 Women’s March, the biggest one-day protest in United States historical past.

At times, as Patrick Krohn asserts in his black and white photograph, this sort of mass rallies can appear like “Too Considerably Noise” – in this impression two children keep their fingers to their ears as indication-carrying demonstrators clamor at the rear of them – but there are situations when the ballot presents an insufficient remedy to redress wrongs and all citizens have the suitable to choose to the streets to make their voices listened to.

As Keith Tolen, who served along with Lauren Virgo as 1 of the show’s two jurors, has pointed out in his statement to all all those artists who participated in this exhibition: “the greatest award is bringing your get the job done to the dialogue which allows transfer ahead the conversation in our nation.” The artists in this exhibit have designed their voices seen. It is the obligation of all the citizens of our democratic republic to research the troubles and make their knowledgeable opinions identified.


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