Professors as painters. Staff as photographers. Students as sculptors. Alumni as graphic artists.
“I’m amazed by the diversity in this community and the talent in this room,” said Peter Dykhuis, director of the Dalhousie Art Gallery, at Thursday’s grand opening of the 58th Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition.
“These artists may have gone on to become rock stars in their own fields, but they carry this talent with them.”
Since the Art Gallery opened its doors in 1953, it’s made space once a year for the Dal community to display its artistic talents. The exhibit is now open, and runs until December 18.
“This is a lovely tradition and an expression of who we are as a community,” said Irene Oore, a professor in the Department of French and who has three watercolours in the exhibit this year. “This community’s soul is in the arts,” she added.
One of the largest pieces this year is a collaboration between Serguei Iakovlev, engineering math and internetworking professor, and Halifax-based artist Patrick Rapati. The paintings—filled with numbers and equations like something out of a conspiracy movie—combine Dr. Iakovlev’s actual mathematics work with Mr. Rapati’s artistic interpretations.
“When we started discussing the project, we were on the same wavelength – how math can work as art,” explains Dr. Iakovlev.
Another striking piece is from from Zeqirja "Zack" Rexhepi, a painter with Facilities Management, whose experience at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa talking to World War II veterans inspired him to craft a colourful fusion of modern day with the wartime past.
“It was very cold [in Ottawa], but the veteran I spoke to said he wasn’t cold because his mind was in Italy, 1944,” says Mr. Rexhepi. “I wanted to make that feeling real, to symbolize that feeling to show how they fought for the freedom of a new generation.”
Duane Jones, who works with MedIT and is also completing his Masters of Information Management, found his inspiration for his painting “That’s Gayngsta” in evolving ideas of male status.
“I was thinking about male status in society and how men are taking on more female characteristics than before. I wanted to explore that changing perception, particularly how it’s expressed within hip hop.”
A multitalented community
In addition to championing the work of his Dalhousie peers, Mr. Dykhuis also added his artistic voice to the mix, with a project collecting paper documents from his life and work.
“I’ve been working in galleries over the years, collecting envelopes, notes, the paper artifacts...I’ve got literally Rubbermaid containers full of them,” he said. “It’s not quite a diary, because I’m not writing the text, but it’s like the web of connections you build in your life.”
As curator, though, it’s the connections between the professional and artistic lives of the Dal community that he’s excited to share.
“We have a lot of new contributors in the exhibition this time,” he said. “It really underscores how multitalented the community is.”
The 58th Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition runs until December 18. The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.
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