Organizer: Haru Shafer
Participants: Bethany King, Toby Van Der Veer, Janelle Hernandez, Stephen Lee, Lauryn Hutchens, Antonio Hernandez, Daniel Sunkari, Stephanie Chang, Liana Bak, Nathan Dickie, Azucena Montenegro, Angela Cho, Marissa Parks, Helen Lee, Lizbeth Roque, Andy Espinoza, Haru Shafer
Exhibition: One Body
Media: Paint, clay, canvas, strings
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
“One Body” is what organizer Haru Shafer describes as a group show made up of non-degree students, or students who are not members of the School of Art, and is an exhibition created by members of Long Beach State’s InterVarsity student movement to uplift audiences and help them discover and understand the beauty within them. The show’s purpose is to also help the CSULB Community to comprehend that “despite our conflicts, we could reconcile and forgive one another because of our faith in Jesus.”
Each piece was unique and different; they all showcased a different array of materials from gouache, acrylic, strings, watercolors, polymer clay etc. One of my favorite pieces was a work created by Stephen Lee called “Patchwork Hearts” (as pictured on the far right above) in which Lee depicts the natural eccentricities and unique personalities of individuals. In his statement, he touches upon the beauty that individuality brings to the community you are a part of and that – despite conflicts it may create, or lessons it may teach you or others – it helps humans to grow. He spoke about how embracing others’ quirks and cultural identities changes you and as you “pick up beautiful little shards of other people’s cultures and personalities…your heart changes and becomes a little more like God’s.”
During this week’s artist conversation, I was able to sit down with Antonio Hernandez, one of the participants in the “One Body” exhibition. Antonio, whose work is pictured below, spoke to me about his excitement over the exhibit since it was not only his first time showcasing his work in a gallery, but it would also give him the chance to showcase God’s love and provide and inspiring message. His work titled “Hope” (pictured below), which took him about two days to create, is his depiction of what he would like people to take away from the exhibition: to have the strength to improve the future in which everyone can live together without hate or discrimination. He also confessed that despite his excitement, he had reservations about participating because of people’s negative outlook on religion and how controversial it can be; he described people’s attitude in regards to religion as “distant” and being almost as if people see it as a “turn off” but hoped that by showcasing the genuine love for human life that their movement tries to get across, more people will become accepting of it.
This week’s artist conversation brought tears to my eyes and is probably my favorite experience that I have had during my time in this class; due to health and personal issues, I remember I was having an extremely rough day that evening and considered staying home because I was having such a hard time, however, experiencing the beauty of this exhibition made me glad I didn’t. I arrived at the galleries about an hour before class and had the whole room to myself, and as I viewed the pieces, there was nothing but silence and the sound of the wind outside; I remember feeling like all the problems I was having at the time just suddenly left my body, it was extremely therapeutic. This gallery made me feel glad that I was having problems that day because I feel like that’s where my heart was supposed to be when I was viewing these pieces that were all about self-love and overcoming hardships in your life; because of the mental state that I was in, I feel like I was truly able to understand and relate to the pieces on another level that would probably not be as deep had I been in a great mood or just simply neutral. The reason why I chose this exhibition is because it brought me to tears due to how beautiful it was, in every way possible; the pieces were gorgeous, the message they and the gallery itself were trying to transcend was beautiful, my talk with Antonio felt fulfilling, and my experience was unforgettable. I remember just whispering and uttering to myself, over and over again, the phrase “wow, this is so beautiful” as I read each of the participants’ excerpts and took pictures of every piece – not because I needed them for my homework but because I wanted to. I believe that is why I enjoyed this exhibit so much – it became more than just another assignment for class, it was truly a mentally and emotionally fruitful event and I am so thankful to have been able to experience it.