The selected works of a number of students in the College of Arts + Architecture were on full display as this year’s Global Studies Exhibition kicked off at the Storrs Gallery. Spanning the students’ experiences across a variety of media, from sketches and photographs to analytical diagrams and installations, the collective voyage of the students across a handful of countries was celebrated as the participants themselves dissected their individual travels.
Acting foremost as celebratory evidence of the knowledge collected by the students who traveled abroad as well as an invitation to those who still yearn to do so, the latest exhibition from the Global Studies department also sought to explore the social implications surrounding the subjects of each student’s travels. Just as the exhibition displayed architectural designs and artistic interpretations for such things as Roman bathhouses and revised Japanese tapestries, it also included subtle peeks into not only the people who created these things, but also those who occupy the spaces where these creations lie.
Even while I instantly gravitated towards the architectural drawings and analytical diagrams of the exhibition, myself, a fellow Architecture major, was eager to dissect the work for what it is, the work that adorned the opposite walls was also interlaced with their own unique portrayals of the students’ experiences abroad. As the drawings and diagrams showcased their own distinct portraits of occupation, scale figures from the drawings strolling alongside intricate building concepts situated among ancient Roman cathedrals, the work from the other side of the artistic spectrum gave another perspective from the various studies done by the students. As I listened to one photography student discuss their capture of daily activities (and fun, unexpected excursions) while abroad in Poland, the rich collection of polaroid photos pinned to the wall clued me in to another tangent of what studying abroad is truly about.
Rough, uncomplex and exposed, the selected photographs and sketches paralleled the measured architectural drawings of the exhibition with a silent beauty about them. Just as my eyes scanned the drafted works to pull away some semblance of design and inspiration, I found equal inspiration in the smaller, more intimate things students selected to share. From those layered, lucid polaroids to a collection of crude yet ornate charcoal portraits from another student, the works strived to reveal just what it means to study abroad. While there comes a time to craft professional work for portfolios or to see exceptional ideas realized on paper, there also comes a time to capture moments, experiences, people; the finer details that you can discover abroad.
As the new Director of Galleries Adam Justice drew our attention from the work on the wall to a duo of dance students set to perform, the Global Studies Exhibition concluded with an entrancing piece quite different from the mostly static works that filled the room. While the drawings and photographs worked to challenge and inspire me and others, the dance performance that came soon after teased something more. Two individuals locked in beautiful conflict, moving together as a singular organic form, the performance only furthered my belief that those finer details you grasp while abroad are the things that compile to create something incredibly profound.
The College of Arts + Architecture Global Studies Exhibition will be on display at Storrs Gallery until September 28.