Students display work at IMAGES Arts Festival on campus

Ore Obiwumi



Last week, Fairleigh Dickinson University students displayed their artwork in the Rothman Building for students, faculty and guests to admire. The display was part of the 18th annual IMAGES Student Arts Festival, which was presented by Becton College’s Visual and Performing Arts department.

At the studio art exhibition, student artists were able to display their work and speak with viewers about it. Professor of Fine Arts Judy Moonelis said the exhibition included a range of artwork from students of many different backgrounds, including business majors and fine arts majors of different years.

Junior art/Quest major Kiara Rafael was one such artist. Rafael had several pieces displayed in the Rothman Building, and stated that she had been working on them since last semester. She said that her two favorite pieces were her painting of Beyonce and her stylized version of the “Moonlight” promotional poster. She said that she was “infatuated” with Beyonce, and that she had done an honors thesis on how Beyonce’s “Lemonade” album advanced black feminism. Rafael said she felt her most important work that was on display was her painting of the “Moonlight” poster, which she mixed with some prints of the women’s march posters created by Shepard Fairey. She stated, “If anyone notices any of my pieces, I would want them to notice that one” because it highlights the importance of intersectionality. “People don’t pay attention to marginalized communities, much less marginalized people within marginalized communities,” she said. “In today’s sociopolitical climate, we need to be open to having discussions we don’t want to have.”

Another artist whose work was displayed at the festival was Kim Carrera, a junior psychology major. She said that one particular piece, her rose mask, was reminiscent of the Day of the Dead and was inspired by her half-Mexican ancestry. Morgan Philhower, a junior art/ Quest major, also had several pieces featured at the festival.

She believed that her most important piece was a series of butterflies painted on clay plates that she made, entitled “Epidermolysis Bullosa.” She created the butterflies in honor of her Goddaughter, who was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a disease often called “the worst disease you’ve never heard of.” According to Debra of America, an organization that conducts research on and provides support for people with the disease, the prominent symptom of Epidermolysis Bullosa is “extremely fragile skin that blisters and tears from minor friction or trauma… is always painful, often pervasive and debilitating, and is in some cases lethal before the age of 30.” Children with the disease are often known as “Butterfly Babies.” Philhower stated, “I made this piece to spread awareness.”

Amanda McCarty, a senior graphic design major with a minor in fine arts, displayed a series of abstract sculptures at the event. She stated that she was particularly proud of her piece, “Endogeny,” which she considered a “gateway sculpture.” She said that that piece led to her other works, “The Depths” and “Mangrove.” McCarty stated that her pieces are “totally open to interpretation,” and that “the theme is life and organic matter.” She said that in order to create each piece, she is first inspired by something in nature. She then “she then distills it” and creates something that she sees as “the essence of the thing.” Another student who displayed some of her work was

Daria Approvato, a senior fine arts major. She stated that she mostly creates two- or three-dimensional self-portraits. She said, “I mostly work in the self because it’s what I know best.” She creates simpler versions of herself because she feels that these versions are more “idealized” and “personal.” When she creates her work, she thinks of “a minor thing,” and then builds the rest of the piece around it. She said that her wire three-dimensional pieces are most important to her because they include many of the things in which she takes comfort. She stated, “I want to make things that children would like. Things that my childhood self would like.”

Jael Joaquin, a junior art major with a minor in animation, who featured her comic book at the Hot Topics panel, “‘I Can’t Breathe’: The Police and the African American Community,” also featured her work at the student arts festival. She featured some aspects of the comic book, which was based on a conversation about racism that she had in class after the 2016 Presidential Election. Alongside this she featured some other pieces, including two three-dimensional clay sculptures.

The festival also included band, choir and dance performances, as well as the graphic design thesis reception. Sophomore Tyler Bissell attended the art show to see what the art students had to offer this semester. “It’s polar opposite of what I am used to. Being a computer science major, I deal a lot with different math and sciences course, so it is nice to see what other programs are doing on campus,” Bissell said.

Michele D’Aries contributed to this article.

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