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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Showcase of Unity

Showcase+of+Unity

Artists and Student Organizations Unite to Create Cultural Exhibition 

Basement library frequenters may have noticed the rotating art exhibitions that occupy the wall space surrounding the staircase. Those that visited the library between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14 were welcomed downstairs by the artistry of Wofford’s own budding creatives.  

A Showcase of Unity was organized through a collaboration between the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), Wofford Women of Color (WWOC), Wofford Men of Color (WMOC), AMS (Association of Multicultural Students) and the Black Student Alliance (BSA). This collaboration had a common end goal: to honor the work, legacy and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and “to show a glance of the Hispanic culture, not necessarily in the art piece itself…[but] based on the act of coming together as a community,” according to Mayra Lomeli, ‘21, President of OLAS. 

La Cultura, acrylic on board, was created by OLAS

The final exhibition consisted of three paintings. The painting that hung immediately in front of the stairwell was created by OLAS and any others who wished to make their mark on the work. La Cultura (Spanish for ‘culture’)as the work was titled, embodied both the literal and symbolic meanings of a community painting. The process started with a local artist brought in by OLAS to sketch symbols of Hispanic culture. From there, OLAS left out paint tubes and other art supplies in the arts center so that anyone passing by could contribute to the painting. From the first sketch to the final drop of paint, the work was what Raven Tucker, ’21, called “a communal experience.” She noted the distinct brushstroke techniques that indicate the piece was created by a variety of artists. 

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Tucker, a biology major and studio art minor and President of BSA, was commissioned by WWOC, WMOC and AMS in November to create a work that would reflect the intentions of this exhibition to embody community; in particular, what Tucker referred to as “senses of color.” According to Tucker, In order to incorporate as many groups as possible—regarding both race and other demographics—she used Instagram as an inspirational tool to explore a palate of faces via her timeline. The faces that came to life in her painting weren’t mirror images of the faces she sees on social media, or passes walking to class, but were colored in a way to symbolically represent the beautiful array of color and charisma each individual face has to offer beyond first glance, she says. Tucker intended for color choice to slight features which are designed to speak differently to each person that views the piece. Part of what guided her work, Tucker said, was remembering that “you have to think beyond the spectrum of race…a lot of people identify in other ways.” Tucker’s painting is titled commUNITY 

The final painting included in the exhibition, submitted by Brandy Barnes, ’21, Vice President of BSA, is a smaller work that was created as a prototype for a mural at a hair salon. She completed the work, she explained, for a 2D design class and was prompted by Tucker to submit it to the Showcase of Unity exhibition. The work, she said, “featured traditional hairstyles that originated from different African countries…as a form of cultural appreciation.” She continued, “Oftentimes we see so many variations of different hairstyles worn on African American women [that are not appreciated], as opposed to someone of a different race wearing the same hairstyle and being praised for it being ‘high fashion’ without knowing the particular hairstyle has history behind it. I thought it would be nice to do a painting that showed where these looks originated.” Barnes’ piece is titled Style.  

The exhibition has phased out of its library location; the artists and student organizations involved with it are currently seeking another place on campus to display the works. The collective organizations and artists hope to make the Showcase for Unity an annual celebration of art and culture.  

Caption: Tucker and other members of the exhibition stand around commUNITY 

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