The Center for Visual Arts (CVA) gallery has officially been transformed into a global arts village, featuring clothing, traditional masks, musical instruments and other cultural artifacts representing nearly every continent on earth.
The items, donated by Brookdale faculty, staff, students and the International Education Center, form the CVA’s new International Education/Diversity exhibition, which will be on display through March 20.
The exhibit, according to gallery curator and assistant art professor Marie Maber, was spearheaded by Brookdale Diversity Council co-chair Kathleen Taggart and members of the International Center, who sought to highlight Brookdale’s wildly diverse student and employee populations.
From the photos, paintings and other mementos collected by radiologic technology professor Terry Konn during service-learning trips to Rwanda in 2008 and 2013, to the stunning collection of traditional Indian fabrics and clothing donated by assistant psychology professor Rajkumari Wesley, the exhibit is as varied and as captivating as the college that houses it.
“We have always been a melting pot here at Brookdale, and that is only increasing as each year goes on.” said Wesley, during an opening reception for the gallery on Jan. 28. “Every culture is so rich, and there is a unique beauty to each one. An exhibit like this really helps show that beauty off. So I am very happy to be a part of this.”
Other items include an authentic German zither donated by student gallery assistant Christina Berndt – who donned traditional Bavarian clothes for the opening – and a series of hand-knit afghans and “amigurumi” animals contributed by Sondra Cannon-Harris, Brookdale’s manager of diversity, inclusion and compliance.
The nearly one dozen amigurumi pieces – or “critters,” as Cannon-Harris jokingly called them – include an elephant, a turtle, a seal and a snake, all painstakingly woven from patterns in a traditional Japanese style of crochet.
The exhibit also includes slide projections showcasing some of the 140 international students currently studying at Brookdale, as well as a “Faces of Brookdale” installation by student photographer Mark DeYoung.
“As a photographer I love being able to work with different people, different personalities and different cultures. So this show is perfect for me,” said DeYoung. “As an artist you can really relate to the idea that different is good. Different colors, different settings, different inspirations… Without diversity, it would be kind of like being forced to shoot in black and white.”
The installation also features a selection of winning posters created by school-aged children depicting what “inclusion” means to them. The posters were selected from the seventh annual “Inclusion Works” poster contest sponsored by The New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education.
The show is free and open to all. For gallery hours or more information contact Marie Maber at 732-224- 2881 or visit the CVA Gallery webpage. Want to learn more about study abroad opportunities and unique services offered to international students? Click here to visit the International Education Center webpage.
Check out more photos from the gallery opening here.