A new gallery has come to campus, made by students, for students.
The new student run gallery, Pot-purri: A Collegiate Exhibition, is located in B176 of Mac-Corry and is dedicated to showcasing cultural studies students’ artwork on campus.
The gallery was inspired by a desire to incorporate creative learning and expression into Queen’s academic sphere, and in particular, the lack of art galleries for students on and off campus.
To kick off the opening of the gallery, a photo exhibit entitled, The Colour of Food, curated by postdoc Craig Berggold.
The Colour of Food focuses on the exploitation of farmworkers in the Fraser Valley in California. Farmworkers often work long days in unsafe conditions for very little pay — the exhibit was a photo montage narrative illustrating these hardships, as well as the protests that farm workers held to unionize and work towards better conditions for themselves and their families.
The artwork was originally created in the 1980s, before Photoshop ever existed. Each montage was made by layering the different elements together under a photo enlarger and then creating a print out of the resulting image.
While the technique itself is interesting, I personally found the final product disjointed. I didn’t have any context for what I was seeing until I read the informational pamphlet offered by the gallery and that only cleared up a little of my confusion.
Social justice and art colliding generally offers something I love, but I didn’t understand the story being told in this show and how it connected to me as the student audience.
That being said, the gallery space itself offers something dynamic, located in the cultural studies student lounge in the basement of Mac-Corry. The exhibition space fills three walls of the student lounge, inviting passers-by to take part.
The artists featured in the gallery change every month, but each artist must be a cultural studies graduate student.
The gallery gives these students a chance to showcase their art, an important goal given the limited exhibition space on and off campus. It gives students the experience of curating, installing, applying to exhibitions and preparing a professional portfolio of work.
While the exhibit featured this month left something to be desired, I was impressed by the gallery itself.
I hope that, given its mandate, the gallery is able to expand to feature artwork from all student artists instead of just Cultural Studies graduate students.
Who knows? Maybe next month’s exhibit will blow me away.
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