September 11, 2002

Art Show Reflects Terrorist Attacks

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Members of the Cornell community gathered yesterday at the Straight Art Gallery to reflect on the events of Sept. 11.

The goal of the art exhibit, entitled “9/11, One Year Later,” is to cause reflection on the events of Sept. 11 and to see how students have processed the shock and expressed it through their work, according to Bukky Gbadegesin ’03, coordinator of the art gallery.

The exhibit contains a representative spectrum of work, said Gbadegesin, in an attempt to inspire reflection and hope. Some of the pieces focus on the immediate aftermath of the attacks, capturing in black and white photography the physical destruction and outpouring of emotion. Scenes of weeping individuals and of posters of missing family members, for example, are found throughout the exhibit.

Other works, such as those by Marisa Pabon ’06, take a different approach.

“I was trying to be more upbeat to add variety,” explained Pabon. She continued that in her depiction of “Rainbow Doves” and other peaceful scenes, she hoped to express that although Sept. 11 was indeed a tragedy, something positive could come of it.

This message was also the focus of artist Mafalda Moore, a Cornell staff member who contributed to the exhibit.

Moore hopes that through her work, visitors will remain aware of the events and will be forced to face the shock. By posing questions, she feels her pieces will engender an internal dialogue within individuals, enabling them to work through the tension and grief and arrive at a more optimistic state of mind.

According to Zain Yousaf ’05, a visitor to the exhibit, Moore’s works, along with the collections of nine other artists, accomplished this goal.

“It was very moving, and really captured the emotion of Sept. 11. It made me reflect on the significance of the day,” Yousaf said.

Aside from the art exhibit, yesterday’s opening included a discussion led by Prof. Susan Buck-Morss, government, focusing on the intersection of art and politics. In her address, Buck-Morss complimented the exhibit on its “enormously varied and complex personal perceptions of Sept. 11.”

According to Buck-Morss, this type of display inspires more thought than that of a singular image involving the American flag, something she said she felt proved all too common in the wake of Sept. 11.

The exhibit will run through Sept. 28.

Archived article by Michael Dickstein