Thursday, June 04

Brookdale Newsroom

ESL Students Put Artwork, Heritage on Display

A new exhibit in the Center for Visual Arts (CVA) Gallery shines a spotlight on the artistic talents and cultural heritage of students studying English as a Second Language (ESL) at Brookdale.

Approximately 30 students contributed more than 100 pieces of original artwork, ancestral clothing and family heirlooms to the exhibit, which is on display through Oct. 31.

Donated items include Turkish jewelry, Egyptian papyrus artwork, an Ecuadorian “jaguar table,” Indonesian masks, Chinese vases, Indian wood carvings, Vietnamese figurines, clay sculptures and Aztec figurines from Mexico, a Bornean bark painting, Native American pottery, decorative china from Peru, Russian nesting dolls, a child’s coat from Japan and countless more contributions from across the globe, and across the centuries.

Brookdale ESL student Amali Mekhael stands with her collection of Egyptian jewelry in the CVA Gallery on Oct. 18.

Brookdale ESL student Aml Mekhael stands with her collection of Egyptian jewelry in the CVA Gallery on Oct. 18.

ESL students contributed their own drawings, paintings and photographs to the exhibit as well.

“It’s a wonderful exhibit that showcases the talents and the wide range of cultures and backgrounds represented in our program,” said ESL administrator Synde Kaufman.

“The students are absolutely thrilled to see their work and their contributions hanging in the gallery, and to feel like they are really a part of the college community. To have the students walking around the gallery with their families and saying, ‘That’s mine!,’ is just beautiful. Seeing their reaction is the best part for me.”

The student contributors joined Kaufman, Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy, Humanities Dean Carl Calendar, Associate Vice President Nancy Kegelman, faculty including art professor Lori Uffer and dozens of friends and family members in the CVA Gallery on Oct. 18 for a public reception and an official grand opening of the exhibition.

In addition to the artwork, attendees were also able to watch a video produced by the Brookdale TV club featuring testimonials and interviews with some of the more than 300 students in the college’s ESL program.

“It makes me happy,” said second-year student Aml Mekhael, who contributed a wide range of jewelry and an elegant dress representing her native Egypt. “I’m very proud today.”

To learn more about the exhibit or the CVA Gallery’s public viewing hours, click here

Learn more about Brookdale’s academic English as a Second Language program here

Check out more photos from the gallery reception here.