An exhibition regarding Perspectives on Self and Other in Art and Human Rights at The University of Dayton
A multimedia art-exhibition held by the University of Dayton's Department of Visual Arts presents an international roster of participating artists including Isabel Avila, Juan Si Gonzalez, Merve Kayan, Sheryl Oring, and Issa Randall.
The public artists reception took place with brief artist talks by Issa Randall and Juan Si Gonzalez at 6pm. The exhibition, curated by University of Dayton assistant professor, Glenna Jennings, takes its title from a book by UC San Diego Art History professor Grant Kester, one of the leading figures in the emerging dialogue around “relational” or “dialogical” art practices.
From a bustling beach on the Turkish coast to the somber interiors of abandoned schools on an Oklahoma Seminole reservation, "The One and the Many" examines notions of Human Dignity from multiple perspectives. Are Human Rights pre-political or are they the artifacts of laws and institutions? Do they belong only to individuals or also to groups? How can we re-vision and de-center human rights to more broadly address the human condition for both the self and the community? This exhibition brings artists whose work speaks, each in its own language, to human capability and the pursuit of both happiness and social justice.
Juán Sí González, an active participant in the international arts community for over 20 years, presents new site-specific pieces that integrate his earlier street performances in Havana, Cuba with Grupo-Art-De (Arte y Derecho/ Art and Law). The works address in a directly but poetically way the dangerous ocean journeys faced by many Cuban refugees, while also alluding to a number of human rights issues in his home country through a critical but creative lens. Isabel Ávila contributes photographs from her work and research with indigenous communities throughout the American West. Her work addresses issues both past and present, including the historic mistreatment of American Indians at government boarding schools, the plundering of ancestral lands in California and the threat that coal mining poses to a Navajo reservation in Arizona. Sheryl Oring's work often involves interactive performances in the category of Social Practice. For "Role Model" (2013), she and a group of “secretaries” asked pedestrians on the streets of Sao Paolo to answer the question “What can Brazil teach the world?” The exhibit presents original typed responses and other documentation of the event "Encuentro (Cities/Bodies/Action: The Politics of Passion in the Americas)". Merve Kayans's short film Bu Sahilde ("On the Coast") blends fact and fiction in its playful representation of Erkili, a coastal Turkish town. The work, which examines notions of leisure, movement, and the everyday, stands in contrast to the recent political upheaval in Istanbul. University of Dayton alum Issa Randall will debut new multi-media pieces that address notions of colonial identities through an investigation of West African fabrics produced in the Netherlands.
This exhibition participates in a larger conversation on Human Rights throughout the University of Dayton. Curator GLENNA JENNINGS is a Peter McGrath Human Rights Fellow (2012-2013), with research focusing on the representation of social welfare practices in the National Cash Register photographic archives.