What This Journey Breeds
Ildiko Butler Gallery
Visual Arts Department + Refugee and Immigrant Fund
June 3 – September 30, 2016
What This Journey Breeds, presented by the Visual Arts Department of Fordham University and the Refugee and Immigrant Fund (RIF), is an exhibition of multi-disciplinary work created by Visual Arts students with concentrations in Graphic Design, Painting & Drawing, Photography, Architecture, and Film & Video.
As its name suggests, What This Journey Breeds describes the culmination of this unique group of students’ formative engagement with RIF and the Brooklyn Grange. Over the course of the 2015-16 academic year, Fordham students have been working closely with RIF, participating from support group meetings, to interviews, and to hands-on volunteering in the gardens and at the University. In tandem to these experiences, they have been making work in response to their relationship with the asylum seekers, investigating themes of displacement, vulnerability, loss, and above all, hope. Most significantly, this journey revealed to its participants that atrocities can occur at every scale and knows no geographic, political, or cultural boundary.
Central to this project is service and the cultivation of empathy for humanity at large. Fordham University encourages its student body to learn under Jesuit traditions of service and self giving as well as forming research among disciplines, and creating possibilities within a liberal arts framework. The project started with small beginnings between the Visual Arts Department and RIF. It grew to include numerous parts of the Fordham Community extending its reach to the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs, which share a mutual support of service learning, and concern for asylum seekers in New York City. In addition to this, the group has had visits from professional artists, lawyers, civil servants, and fellow students enriching the cause, along with screenings of socially and politically relevant documentaries.
Included in the exhibition are new works by participating Lincoln Center and Rose Hill Visual Arts students. James McCracken, Jr. uses portrait photography to reveal the relationships he creates with asylum seekers. Installed in various corners and crevices inside the gallery, Emma Kilroy’s handmade, plant-like sculptures seem to grow from their sites, reconsidering the nature and potentiality of their landscape. David Quateman and Eamon Redpath have collaborated on the development of a documentary sharing the stories of RIF’s organizers and asylum seekers. Nicholas Eliades’ architectural renderings propose a new site for RIF meetings where asylum seekers can meet and share their experiences. Using footage from interview outtakes in addition to the Brooklyn Grange, Anabelle Declement creates a dyptich video that poetically uncovers the vulnerability of the interviewees and positivity of the garden. Strewn across the gallery ceiling is Francesca Aton’s patterned textile that has been made from fruit and vegetable stains whose colors change over time as the organic materials decomposes. Margaret McCauley creates felt collages, that include poetic text derived from particular quotes of asylum seekers which provide new insight into her abstract-narratives. Within the gallery, Danielle Sergiano has placed a stack of maps, which correlate to the rooftop garden on Fordham’s plaza level. This map depicts the journey of an asylum seeker symbolically through a curated series of markers, plant life and text.
Visitors can view the Assisi Garden located adjacent to the Fordham College Lincoln Center dormitory on the plaza. Fruits and vegetables are being grown to be given as donations to RIF asylum seekers and their families.
A catalog of What This Journey Breeds will be available September, 2016. In addition to the participating artists’ work, an introductory essay by Maria Belaque-Belair and Ellie Alter of RIF, documentary photographs of the Brooklyn Grange and RIF members by Anne Saint-Pierre, and exhibition poster designs by Abby Goldstein’s Design Concepts class will be shared.
Organized by Anibal Pella-Woo, Amie Cunat and Carleen Sheehan. Participating Artists: Francesca Aton, Anabelle Declement, Nicholas Eliades, Emma Kilroy, Margaret McCauley, James McCracken, David Quateman, Eamon Redpath, and Danielle Sergiano.