The Permanent Collection:
The permanent collection of the new Diversity 365 Gallery in the library at Three Rivers was created with
two pieces of art that the college has owned for several years, and art selected from the following three shows:
Exhibition 1: CSCU Faculty Show
(February 1 - April 12, 2022)
Exhibition 2: CSCU Non-faculty staff & Student Show
(October 12 - December 12, 2022)
Exhibition 3: The General Public Show (Open to all who live or work in Connecticut)
(February 15 - April 17, 2023)
The Protester Portraits were commissioned by Artspace New Haven in the wake of the international George Floyd Protests of 2020 for the Revolution on Trial: New Haven's Black Panthers At 50. Every year the names of the latest unarmed Black or Brown person murdered by police without recourse become our rallying cry as we shut down major streets and highways marching in protest against systemic state sanctioned murder. These are a few people I met while exercising my first amendment right of peaceable assembly protesting against police violence throughout Connecticut. We perpetually find ourselves shouting into the void, against a monolithic, violent, heavily armed and militarized police force. Oil paint is historically a medium that is used to depict higher echelons of people, here it depicts those who must march in protest to a perpetual state sanctioned violence against Black & Brown bodies. The Protester Portraits answer a simple question, when we are preparing to march against such an egregiously dangerous adversary, "What does our protest armor look like?" Our voices, bullhorns, microphones, smudge sticks, and maracas may pale in comparison against their guns, billy clubs, tasers, pepper spray, qualified immunity, and unlimited funding; but every time police murder someone, these faces along with millions of others, march against them in protest.
I was a Class-of-2020 high school senior during the pandemic and in my experience as an Afro-Caribbean American man, that time was isolating, humbling, and heartbreaking. Not only did I have to transition into an alternate setting than what I was unfamiliar with, but I went through a period of tremendous loss. This time was isolating and painful. But during this time, I also found a lot of growth. My piece, Flower Boy, is a reflection of that growth and an embrace of my culture as well as who I am within a diverse society. This piece represents my period of growth as well as the internal struggle that came with identifying myself. The piece tells part of the story of a person changed by the world. This change is either embraced or feared. Overall, it conveys the essential message that change is necessary.
My ceramic work is hand built using the traditional methods of coiling, pinching and scraping. The pieces are then carved, sculpted and slip-decorated with designs inspired by the Northeastern designs of my ancestors as well as motifs of the Anasazi, Hohokam, Mimbres and other peoples of ancient America.
I started pottery making as a small child, digging clay out of the brook behind our house and shaping crude bowls. I continued from there taking pottery classes and workshops with many teachers including Barbara Diduk (Dickinson College), Kim Dickey (Peters Valley Craft Center), Lori Lapin (Wesleyan Potters), Kofi Asanti (Ghanaian Potter in Residence at Wesleyan Potters), Drew Lewis (Acoma), Grandmother Marsha (Wabanaki) and Jeff Kalin (Institute for American Indian Studies). Researching my own family history (my grandfather was 1/2 Algonquian) led me to the artwork and ideas of Native America from where I now draw my inspiration.
Medicine Shield reflects the theme of diversity as it depicts different people (petroglyph figures) coming together from the four directions: Buffalo-North, Eagle-East, Corn Mother-South, Bear-West. For Native Americans, medicine shields are a symbol of protection. So, I see this piece as offering protection for the wonderful diversity of our communities.
I have been a member of Wesleyan Potters in Middletown CT since 1991. I have had work in the Wesleyan Potters Gallery/Shop and Annual Exhibit and Sale, Agonist Gallery, Fisher Gallery (FVAC), ACE, various Centered shows, Canton Clayworks, Artwell Gallery, Epigee, Center Framing and Art, and Guilford Arts Center.
This is a clip from the song Colors by Black Pumas. Each rectangle here represents a musical note, with
the vertical length defined by that note’s frequency. Time moves from left to right, so a wider note is one
that is played longer, and a narrower note is played more briefly. Stacked notes are played simultaneously.
In working with this song, I wanted to explore differences in the experience of color in vision. As you’ll see,
the same pattern of rectangles exists in four instances here. One may or may not experience the colors in
each instance similarly. For each of the twelve notes in a musical scale, I assigned a color. The lowest note
here (farthest left in the scales below the image), is an F sharp, and the scale progresses up to F. After
coming up with a set of colors, I used some tools designed to emulate color vision differences and mapped
those results to the same musical clip. The first instance here is a representation of Trichromacy.
The second instance of the song here is intended to emulate Deuteranopia. The third, Tritanopia, and the
fourth, Achromatopsia. Thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion, it’s important to remember that we
don’t all see the same way. There is beauty in exploring these differences, and in recognizing that we are
all much more than meets the eye. The song Colors itself is an ode to diversity in the world around us as
a source of joy. As for my part here, I hope to encourage people to consider accessibility and inclusiveness
by presenting content in ways that accommodates our many perceptual differences.
Awareness of the common linkage found in our humanity, the fragility of our cultures, and the vulnerability of those living the barest existence, teetering on the edge of life, inspires the foundation of my work. I have traveled to the developing world to participate in volunteer projects assisting the poor. Experiences there have contributed to the evolution of my work. As I depict my subjects, they are captured in a moment of time, revealing their inner grace and the beauty that can be found in the infinite details of their environment; the sun cracked earth, the drape of tired fabric, and the detritus of struggle. I want to give voice those who are underserved and excluded.
Those I met showed me generosity and kindness, and always welcomed me into their homes sharing what little they had in a manner we all should emulate. In this drawing, the child in the doorway of her home depicts an innocence yet curiosity, her eyes open to the world and its possibilities despite the conditions in which she lived. By limiting color, and emphasizing texture in my drawings, attention is focused on the essential elements of the subject. Complex images are formed that are reminiscent of the protoplasmic origins of life we share. The simplicity and purity of pencil and paper lend an immediacy and intimacy to the work. By creating an interconnectedness between the subject and viewer, it opens up unfamiliar emotions, introspective questioning, and the search for answers.
Joshua Pendleton is a former student of Three Rivers. He studied at the college between 2013 and 2014. He created this large canvas and the Student Government Association donated the work to the Donald R. Welter Library here at Three Rivers during Pendleton's time here as a student. The canvas was donated in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. In a plaque presented to the library with the canvas, Pendleton quotes King, remarking: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you going to do for others?"
My body of work focuses on identity and transformation: the perception of who we are and how it changes from person to person. I find inspiration for my art-making through activism and counterculture. Frequent themes of diversity, inclusion, and exclusion are present as the narrative work explores queer South Asian Muslim personhood. In My Room is a reduction relief print and nonrepresentational self portrait of the artist. In the foreground, a black leather jacket and matching pair of boots are on display; in the background, a rainbow of salwar kameez live in the closet. The piece relates to the way each person can be perceived by others as many different people, and the boundaries that exist between these identities.
The representative changes in geometric patterns are reflective of the changes in Homo sapiens over time. The origin is a three-sided shape that at first gains a new attribute. Eventually the different attribute becomes a fourth side, showing change and growth. That simple square evolves to a rhombus that returns to a square, and with a sharp upturn and further growth, becomes the eight-sided octagon.
Evolving Shapes of Hope is my representation of variations in our species, beginning from a single origin, that gains differences, and grows. We, as a species with all of our differences that we bring, can make it possible to evolve to a newer whole of humanity.
A diverse family structure enjoying a day at Harkness Memorial State Park. My mind wandered to the reasons our families come to America. I thought of all the times I sat with my grandmother, our matriarch, and discussed our family history. My ancestors wanted a better life for my family, and I believe the same for this woman and child. Opportunity, advancement, fair treatment, and access regardless of one’s identity. We all have a voice and the power to create a better life for generations to come.
(Note: Ashley Thompson was the only CSCU student to submit an entry to Exhibition 2. She hails from Three Rivers, so we are particularly proud of her efforts.)
Kintsugi and the Art of the Broken: Can the scars of our personal history make us wiser, better, and more valuable? Can we find beauty in what was fractured and now healed? Or is what once divided never seen as whole again? These are questions I asked in my art and what has led me to the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi. Recently, I have experienced the trauma of having suffered a cardiac arrest, the loss of my father, and the passing of two relatives. Additionally, we all suffer through a world divided: one where our governments, our borders, and our social fabric are all in a state of upheaval. How, then, do we then heal ourselves and find a center in which to situate our being?
For the past 20 years, I have made paintings that map my development as a gay, Vietnamese-American man: that of a refugee’s journey from a war-torn country, to growing up in America into my adult (sexual) identity.
With these recent traumas, I instinctively focused on how elements of my personality, identity, and social reality have been irreversibly re-organized. Through research, I found the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, which is the art of embracing damage and wounds. Kintsugi is mainly used to repair broken pottery and lacquerware by binding broken pieces together using clay and, ultimately, gold. These golden lines trace the path of fracture, of destruction, of injury—criss- crossing the repaired object. With these gold fault-lines proudly displayed, the intention of the craftsman is clear: that in this new state, this form is better and more beautiful for having experienced brokenness and gone through the process of healing and rebuilding. In many ways, my paintings look to recreate and piece together a reality that is based on grace, generosity, and beauty.
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