“TALK. – A Conversation on Socio-Political Conditions” was held on September 19.
Emily Brostek and Claudia Preza, students pursuing their M.A. in Museum Professions, a Graduate Studies program within the College of Communication and the Arts, moderated a panel discussion titled “TALK. – A Conversation on Socio-Political Conditions” on September 19. The panel featured NYC artists Gregory Sholette, Patricia Cazorla, and Nancy Saleme as well as the University’s own Rev. Dr. Forrest M. Pritchett and Dr. Cherubim Quizon. Brostek and Preza are co-curators of the exhibit “RISE.”, which was open to the public until September 29 in the Walsh Gallery. “RISE.” brought together contemporary art works that dignify their subjects and depict triumph over oppressive sociopolitical conditions. The panel discussion served as a conversation about activism in modern society.
“RISE.” was inspired by artist Käthe Kollwitz’s etching from the Peasant War series, Outbreak from Bauernkrieg, and was based on her personal experiences during World Wars I and II. The exhibit spoke to a variety of social injustices and sociopolitical issues of the past that continue to impact society today. Throughout the discussion, the panelists explained the meaning and the importance of activism in modernity.
The conversation focused on definitions and forms of activism. “America wouldn’t be where it is today without activism,” shared Pritchett. He explained that past events shape the world’s current social issues, and activists need to “understand clearly what happened in the past and connect it to today.”
Brostek and Preza shared their belief that the artwork in “RISE.” shed light on sociopolitical issues that transcend time. Quizon supported this idea and argued that activism depends on making choices based on one’s own convictions. She was deeply impressed with “RISE.”, expressing her belief that it served as an example to how the power of art can impact the power of ideas.
Three featured artists in “RISE.” spoke on the panel and shared their art’s connection to modern activism. Saleme and Cazorla are both Venezuelan artists who fight for rights of undocumented immigrant migrant workers. Cazorla explained that she never intended to become an activist, but she understood the plight of “these invisible people.” As an immigrant herself, she urged activists to fight for what they are passionate about.
“RISE.” exhibited two drawings from Sholette, an artist, activist, and founder of GULF. During the conversation he explained the Kafala system of labor in Abi Dhabi as a form of “indentured servitude.” Sholette shared personal experiences with the occupy museums movement in protest of Western institutions benefitting from the Kafala system of labor. He argued that true activism needs direct action to force change.
The discussion concluded with panelists and audience members discussing what roles Seton Hall students can take to become activists. Brostek reflected that society is making progress, but “still has a lot to work on.” Ultimately, Brostek and Preza hope that “RISE.” empowered viewers to take comfort in the collective strength of humanity during difficult times.
The M.A. in Museum Professions is an on-campus program designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students in the program select one of four professional tracks, including Museum Education, Museum Registration, Museum Management, or Exhibition Development. Exhibition Development students complete Producing an Exhibition, a course that allows a small group of students to produce an exhibition in the Walsh Gallery or an alternative location under the guidance of the gallery director. “RISE.” and the panel discussion, “TALK. – A Conversation on Socio-Political Ideas,” were the outcome of Brostek and Preza’s work in the program’s Producing an Exhibition course.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.
Categories: Arts and Culture