by Alyse Diamantides / copy editor
The “State of the Union” exhibition in Salem State’s Winfisky Gallery portrays recent political events through various mediums. Salem State professor Ken Reker said this was a way for artists and members of the community to express their “concerns and their hopes for the future.”
Because of the controversial election and recent events, the gallery contains pieces that explore social inequalities, environmental issues, police profiling, income inequality and ownership of your body. Twenty entries were submitted and Reker said 12 of those were accepted into the exhibition.
“Art has a responsibility…to stir dialogue and conversation,” Reker explained. “It was an opportunity for me to get as many voices as I could.”
This exhibit in particular “speaks to a wider audience” and a bigger community, Reker said. This was the first open call for artwork and pieces are from artists in the Salem area to those from Lowell, Boston and other communities. “I wanted to bring a voice outside of the college into the college community and start a dialogue.”
“As an artist…you still have to be engaged as a citizen to understand what’s going on,” Reker said and went on to say how you’ll “eventually be affected by what happens and the changes that occur.”
The “State of the Union” portrays what’s going on in the world through different mediums as a way to “see what people were talking and thinking about,” Reker added. “In my mind, art’s always looked at almost every discipline: identity or politics or the environment.”
The “State of the Union” will be at the Ellison Campus Center Winfisky Gallery until Dec. 14. The gallery is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The reception is Nov. 30 at 2 p.m.
Artists include: Suzanne Barnes, Natalie Bloom, Yetti Frenkel, Ellen Hardy, Gary D. Harley, Emily Kwong, Jeannine Pelkey, Ruth Ann Pelkey, Ken Reker, Robert Siegelman, Allen Spivak, Robert Thurlow and Quanzhou (Jack) Zhao.