Assuming Identity shows seniors’ perspectives through unified art
April 11, 2016
“I’m half black and Japanese, so all my life I’ve felt like I wasn’t really allowed to say that I was black or Japanese, because whenever I would claim it, people would say ‘oh but you’re only half black or you’re only half Japanese.’ I was in this weird middle ground trying to figure out where I belong. Each photograph is its own story of what I went through and what I allowed to mold me. All of the texts have been said to me either face-to-face or anonymously online, “ said photography and digital media senior Sidney Mori. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“At first, I was into painting and drawing, but then I took a photo history class. After learning about all the different techniques (of photography) that came through history, just really got me into photography,” said photography and digital media senior Andre Brooks. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“I’ve always been connected to the visual arts because I am a dancer. The pieces here are aesthetically pleasing. My favorite part of photography is lighting because the photographer can play with lighting and it conveys a entirely different feeling to every photo. I love photography because it captures a moment in time,” said post-baccalaureate student Natasha Aksamentov. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“I have friends in this program, so I came here to support them. I don’t know much about the theme of the show, but I am eager to find out more,” said UH alumnus Amir Badawi. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“I’m not very artistic, but I see these photos being taken and it impresses me, especially their usage of Photoshop. It’s really impressive what these students can do,” said communications senior Francisco Casillas. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“I like this gallery because I like seeing how the artists expressed their different views in one picture. I live vicariously through other people, and I wish that I could convey that through photography,” said post-baccalaureate student Natasha Kaur. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“I find this event very intriguing because it’s so artistic. It uses photography in an entirely creative way,” said kinesiology senior Joshua Lapin. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“I have always been interested in art, especially because my mom is an artist, and I really wanted to see the innovations that were happening,” said creative writing senior Gerald Smith. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
“It’s very natural, elemental expression of my feelings. A lot of the materials that I use are collected over time. They kind of just represent different eras of my life, and then when I put them together it’s kind of a meditative experience. I’m really inspired by (artists) James Turrell, Robert Irwin and Dan Flavin,” said photography and digital media senior Andi Valentine. | Kristina Olguin/The Cougar
The Photography and Digital Media program hosted the opening reception for its first collective senior thesis exhibition: “PDM 16: Assuming Identify,” on Saturday evening at Rudolph Blume Fine Art Artscan Gallery.
The 17 seniors used photography as a way of capturing a sense of identity. The gallery will be on display through April 23.
“Every graduating class in the PDM program has a thesis show displaying what they’ve been working on for the last year and a half,” said photography and digital media senior and marketing coordinator Stephanie Williams. “We’ve shown other exhibits before, but this is our first time showing as a class.”
At the event, the students’ artwork was displayed throughout the multi-room gallery. The students stood in front of their artwork and explained to people passing by what their pieces were about.
According to an “Assuming Identity” curatorial excerpt statement, the students “use photography to uncover the manifold relationships between artist, subject and viewer, forming a dialogue between individuality and social constructions.”
Owner and director of Capsule Gallery Sarah Sudhoff and assistant curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Allison Pappas curated the exhibition.
“The gallery and our show are also a part of Fotofest’s Participating Spaces,” Williams said. “This provides an opportunity for people from all over the world to stop by and see our work.”
Get to know some of the artists and attendees in the gallery above.