Wriston opens first exhibit of the school year

Kirsten Rusinak

Attention artists and art fans: Sculptor Aris Georgiades and photographer Sama Alshaibi are prepared and ready to give us our first art opening of the academic year today, Friday, Sept. 25.
The opening takes place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Wriston Art Center. As usual, the evening commences with a lecture, this one by Georgiades.
Also, you will not want to miss out on what Alshaibi has to say. Alshaibi plans to give a lecture Thursday, October 15 at the same location at 6 p.m.
After taking a look at his portfolio, Director of Exhibits Frank Lewis could not help but commission Georgiades to exhibit his work at Lawrence, and it is no wonder.
Georgiades’ technique of reclaiming throwaway materials for use in permanent forms and working at a human scale cannot help but maintain an interest upon repeated viewing. The artist embodies these concepts in sculptures of the human form and architecture.
As son of a Greek immigrant, much of Georgiades’ early work brings to light issues of the American dream, including notions of class, the male identity, and time, but his consideration of these weighty issues does not take away from Georgiades’ love of craftsmanship, humor and beauty.
As an installation artist, Georgiades considers not only the physical exhibiting space, but also the community and its corresponding history.
Georgiades currently is a professor of sculpture at UW-Madison.
According to Gallery and Collections Assistant Leslie Walfish, Georgiades has not gone unnoticed in the art world: “He has won multiple awards for his work including the Artist in Residence, Arts Industry program at the Kohler Foundation in Sheboygan, Wis. multiple times and has exhibited nationally.”
Walfish continued, “Recently, his design for a sculptural installation was selected out of a large number of applicants to be featured in the new Warch Campus Center here at Lawrence.”
Alshaibi currently works as a professor at the University of Arizona-Tucson, which happens to be the place where Walfish did her graduate work.
It is no surprise then what a firm grasp Walfish has on the connection between Alshaibi’s telling work and somewhat contradictory heritage: “Sama’s photography and film explore notions of exile, war, forced migration and female identity,” Walfish said.
“Her background as a Palestinian-Iraqi immigrant has greatly affected her life and work,” Wolfish continued. “Women are often the subjects of the photographs in this exhibit, as is the photographer herself. These works overlap images with text combing the mediums as she has feelings of conflicting heritage between her two homelands. Through her work she tries to identify with a history she feels disconnected with and honor and continue a legacy she has been denied.”
Wisconsin is lucky to play host to Alshaibi, an artist whose work has appeared internationally in Guatemala, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, London, Scotland and other locations.
The opening is this Friday, Sept. 25, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Wriston Art Center. The event commences with a lecture by Georgiades at 6 p.m. followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public.

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