January 20, 2014
To see this exhibit by Northampton Community College art students, you'll have to travel to Arizona! But luckily, we've got a sneak peek (and the stories behind student inspiration) of the work that was motivated by Navajo culture.
Through professor of communication/theatre Donna Acerra's intercultural communications project, students from NCC have been participating in intercultural exchange visits with Diné College, a Navajo community college in Tasaile, Arizona, since 2010. Not only students travel back and forth between the colleges, but art work does, too!
Bruce Wall, associate professor of art, used the intercultural exchange as inspiration for his fine arts class. First, he had his students research and discuss Navajo culture. They were then asked to create mixed media drawings that integrate Navajo images and symbols with those from their own culture to form a "hybrid identity" artwork.
The results were vibrant and personal. Soccer player Anton Pasternak incorporated Navajo designs into a soccer ball, while Devin Feely contrasted his own belief in the story of creation with those of the Navajo culture to show that all humans "go through the same struggles and strive for peace in our lives." Other students drew on their heritage as well as their favorite books, movies, and even video games.
The art will be on exhibit at Diné College this semester. A plan to exhibit photographs taken by Diné students at NCC later this spring is in the works.
To view the NCC students' work and read artist statements about their pieces, download this PDF.