Senior thesis art program to be held in the IAC

Pratiksha Joshi
Staff Writer

The first student art show will be held in the International Arts Center (IAC) to showcase this year’s senior thesis program beginning on Wednesday, May 3.
The art show will be held in the Huo Bao Zhu Gallery in the IAC building until Friday, June 30.
The Huo Bao Zhu Gallery was named to honor Huo Bao Zhu, who crafted the terracotta army soldiers located in the Janice Hawkins Park.
Every student in the graphic design program, or the BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) program, must go through a thesis exhibition during his or her senior year.
During this time, senior students must go through the process of creating a body of work and displaying it in the gallery.
Previously, this exhibition used to take place in the Malone Hall Gallery.
“It is our students’ capstone course, and this is a standard that was established about 25 years ago,” said Pamela Allen, associate professor of art and design and department chair.
“It’s quite important: they have been working on it all semester, and this is the first time the public will be able to see what their thesis is all about.”
They must also write a thesis paper that will coincide with their body of work.
“My project is about genealogy, specifically the journey for African-Americans tracing their lineage back. I am confronting the underlying issue of identity,” said Jada Sipp, a senior graphic design major from Memphis, Tennessee.
“I’ve always wanted to learn about my ancestry; the tipping point, though, was when I went to a family event and learned that my family name ‘Sipp’ was originally the name of the plantation owner that ‘owned’ my ancestors on my dad’s side.”
According to Sipp’s research, giving an African-American your name (if you “owned” him) was a common practice. These people were stripped of their first and last names and given any names of the owners’ choosing, which many would change once they were free.
“It was a really unsettling moment for me, and I decided to learn as much as I possibly could about slavery practices,” said Sipp.
“I really wanted to educate both myself and the public with my project, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of people didn’t know about this.”
Usually, the student is asked to focus on a social, political or economic topic, working on issues that mean something to him, and thus personalizing the artwork as well as taking a stand on important issues currently facing society.
“The beauty of this project is that they have to come up with their own topics,” said Allen.
“My senior thesis is on microexpressions (rapid movement of facial muscles tied to underlying emotions) and how better understanding them can help artists more accurately depict human emotions,” said Laura Hinson, a senior fine arts major from Vernon.
“Personally, I started learning about microexpressions to better understand the people around me because being able to recognize facial expressions really does lend itself to better interpersonal relationships, particularly since people don’t always say what they are thinking.”
Each student participating in the show must have his work critiqued by the faculty beforehand.
“It’s a pretty rigorous project, but as soon as their body of work is critiqued, and is to our satisfaction, it will be open to the public,” said Allen.
The reception for the exhibition, which is open to the public, will be on Thursday, May 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. All the seniors will be present and will explain their work as well as receive feedback.
“We wanted to do the reception after their work has been critiqued and they have received their grades, so that it’s kind of like a celebration where they can invite their family, faculty and other students,” said Allen.
“These young students have great imaginations and some really great skills, and I am really proud.”
Visitors can see their works on all weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends by appointment only.

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