Art exhibit features variety of bicultural pieces

In Campus News, News

Amplifying voices that are often ignored, the Pollak Library presents “Border Inspections,” an exhibit that features artwork focusing on current bilingual and bicultural issues affecting the youth in the United States.

“Border Inspections” utilizes work created by kindergarten through 12th-grade students and their teachers and college students and their professors from across the country and Canada. The art portrays life stories of bilingual and immigrant youth and raises questions about how language, identity, culture and power intersect in their lives.

Sharon Chappell, assistant professor of elementary and bilingual education and curator of the featured exhibit, said Cal State Fullerton is one of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions in California.

“This exhibit is not only about youth whose lives are affected and impacted by language and culture, but our own student body. The exhibit features voices who are generally marginalized in textbooks and media. It demonstrates the positive impact young people of color have on our community and on the world,” said Chappell.

Along with other artists, CSUF’s graduate students from the College of Education’s Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education contributed artwork to the exhibition as part of ongoing research in their master’s degree program about contemporary issues in bilingual and bicultural education.

“Border Inspections” features more than 30 paintings, sculptures, photographs, video stills and pieces of creative writing that each tell a story.

“This exhibit is very moving,” said Richard Saldana, an anthropology major who spent a lot of time walking around the exhibit and analyzing the different artwork. “It is touching. It brings out the reality in what is really going on right now. So many kids are in poverty and struggling because they’re from different cultures.”

“This is one of the best exhibits we have ever had,” said Stephanie Rosenblatt, a CSUF education librarian. “It is so amazing because it is put together by one of our own professors and represents voices that are often missing in the conversation.”

Rosenblatt appreciates the exhibit’s portrayal of bicultural perspectives. She believes the exhibit amplifies voices that are often ignored.

Although the exhibit does focus on the Spanish-speaking bilingual population, there is an introductory display that outlines, through statistics and charts, the various language populations served in California.

Chappell hopes the exhibit will spark students’ imaginations and help encourage creative ways for them to approach their own classwork, research and most importantly, issues that matter to them.

“I hope we can all be creative and display our work in public for people to look at and respond and react to,” she said. “These artists are just ordinary people who do extraordinary things. They are everyday people who comment on the circumstances of their lives and their interest in issues that impact bilingual communities, together creating networks and allegiances.”

“Border Inspections” is open through May 20 in the Salz-Pollak room in the Pollak Library during the library’s normal operating hours. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

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