Living Exuberantly Through Art

By Judeanne Watters-Armenti
November 15, 2001

Joe Holden

In a collective effort for a clearer perspective on Sept. 11th, Cabrini students dedicated Cabrini Day to the people, the emotion and the repercussions of the Attack on America. Assistant Professor Lisa Learner-Wagner gave the student-artists an outlet for their reflections on the attacks. Her “Life Drawing” and “Color Theory” classes contributed works for one of the day’s workshops, “Speaking Through Art.”

Works from the Life Drawing class shouted the depth of emotion in each artist. George Ojomo used tremendous but subtle symbolism in his self-portrait by using a knitted brow and a gaping mouth in contrast to the calm expression of his “other self.” Under the relaxed brow of his pre-Sept. 11 self, a smiley face shined in his eye. Bulging above the gaping mouth of his post-Sept. 11 self, a skull glistened behind the tear in his eye.

Continuing this theme of self-conflict was Geronna Lewis. Sitting in front of Uncle Sam, with his hands clamped over her ears and the flag bound around her eyes, Lewis gave pause to wonder what we truly see and hear. Lewis said, “We are the ones who put a veil on our own eyes.”

The abstract work from Color Theory students provoked thought of not only our lives since Sept. 11, but of our life that day and the days before it. In a trio of images, Kim Clayton’s world was colorful and harmonious with bright pastels before the attacks, fractured with dark and blistering violent colors the day of Sept. 11 and black, white and blatantly divided since the 21st century’s most infamous day.

Learner-Wagner said, “Art is a wonderful vehicle to get people talking.” Her students provided plenty of material to discuss among the group gathered in Grace Hall Atrium. Ellie Pfaust’s work spoke of the atrocities witnessed over her 60-odd years of conscious existence. She shared the image of herself as not only an innocent child and a vibrant young woman living with the haunting acts of Hitler and Stalin but also as an older adult of today living exuberantly in her art, despite the ideology of Bin Laden.

As art reflects not only our society but also our common emotions and our shared concerns, it exudes the spirit of its creators.

Thanks to the perspective of our artistic community at Cabrini our spirit is not only mirrored, but is guided into an uncertain future with more understanding and hope than it possessed on Sept. 11.

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Judeanne Watters-Armenti

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