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The Artist as Witness

March 4- April 9, 2022
Dodd Center for Human Rights, UConn.

This exhibition brings together artwork created at our partner institutions on the NEA Big Read Award, 2021. Students and faculty from the University of Connecticut, Central and Eastern Connecticut State Universities, Manchester Community College, EO Smith High School, and others partnered with Eastern Connecticut State University on a journey of interconnectedness through the power of shared reading.

The graphic novel by American-Vietnamese writer Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do, provided inspiration for the artworks now on view at Dodd Hall. Bui’s 336 pages of sequential art follow the history of 24 family members over five decades chronicling a turbulent sail across the Pacific Ocean, and their subsequent quest to make a new home in America. The Best We Could Do – itself a powerful account of witnessing – provided an abundance of ideas for reflections and questions about what we share and what divides us. Multiple copies of this book were distributed to faculties of History, Graphic Design, Visual Arts, Education, First Year Program, and Anthropology to facilitate students’ responses.

We are excited to present a diverse range of poignant testimonies of students’ life callings, rites of passage, immigration plague. Our exhibition comprises works by beginning and non-art students. Disparity in their skills is over-shadowed by an earnest exploration of their personal experiences in response to Thi Bui’s exquisite graphic narrative. Revelations about our current worldwide immigration crisis are a common thread in their texts. The Artist as Witness brings us face to face with our own pressing political divisions. It demonstrates the modest means, but immodest potential, that our students will bring into the world after graduation. This exhibition is our contribution to the call for social injustice. It is an integral part of our responsibility to the campus and neighboring communities.                     

Julia Tikhonova Wintner, Eastern Art Gallery Coordinator, 2022.

Prison Arts Initiative, Community Partners in Action

Prison Arts Initiative, Community Partners in Action

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Manchester Community College

Manchester Community College

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Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University

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Eastern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University

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Edwin O. Smith High School

Edwin O. Smith High School

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University of Connecticut, Department of History

University of Connecticut, Department of History

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Many thanks to our colleagues: Professors Lora Lee, David Stoloff, ECSU; Ivan Small, CCSU, Nu-Anh Tran, Jason Chunn, Angela Rola, UConn, Maura O'Connor, MCC, Tammy Glaeser, and Denise Abercrombie, E.O. Smith, Jenny (JHD) Heikkila Díaz for being part of NEA Big Read at Eastern. We appreciate that The Dodd Center for Human Rights – the place where astute witnessing is nurtured and fought for has opened its doors for this exhibition. We hope this won’t be the last time for our collaboration.

NEA Big Read National Endowment for the Arts; Art Works; Arts MidwestThis exhibition is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant [#00029961] NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE
The Dodd Center for Human Rights
405 Babbidge Road, U-1205
Storrs, CT 06269 - USA
Phone: (860) 486-8739