For the last several weeks of my residency at the Family Literacy Center in Barre, VT, students have been exploring individual art projects. Many artists painted and drew, while others tried sculpture and photography.
|Artist painting a classmate's portrait, titled Sam, 2015, acrylic on canvas board.|
|Painting a turtle for her daughter|
|Painting a Transformer for her son- all those shades of yellow!|
|Sketching a tree|
|The beautifully lit space had perfect architecture to organize the work.|
|Wherever possible, work was surrounded with a simple black mat.|
|Student sketchbooks were on display as well.|
|The artist at right, discussing her work with viewers.|
This created a bit of a stir among some staff. The day before the show, the artist was asked to pull several images deemed too controversial to be part of the art exhibit. I haven't had many times in my life that I have had to discuss the censorship of art with staff and students, but this was an exceptional circumstance indeed. The student was told that close-ups of the skin were fine, but full- or even partial-body images were not.
|Macro lens skin photo. Apparently fine...|
|Also, apparently fine...|
The real kicker? The artist's self-portrait was "not fine."
|Self-portrait of the artist, apparently not fine.|
Which was her Whole. Entire. Point.
That normal women don't always look the same after children. And that it's okay not to.
The morning of the art show, her teacher noticed this discrepancy- essentially, all of the images were the same, and featured the same scope of the body- and thankfully proceeded to print out almost all of the missing, censored photos.
|The grouping of her work on exhibit, collectively titled You Are Beautiful.|
Because often, what a person will remember is what stands out- what challenges a person and makes him or her think. No surprise- the newspaper journalist interviewed the artist extensively about her work, while an assistant videoed the conversation. Because in the scope of sunsets, landscapes, and cute animals, this is the work that stood out: full of meaning and intention.