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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Arts and Oceania

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While skipping the chilly Minnesota winter, Fred Hagstrom and the students that participated in the South Pacific Art Program strived towards their goal of intertwining the challenges of participating in off-campus studies, living in a completely foreign environment, and producing narrative art that encompasses and displays the challenges. The work of the en- tire term, which included drawing with ink and watercolors in sketchbooks and printmaking projects, formed many visual journals currently displayed in the Weitz.

At the crowded reception held on Monday, April 6th, the different cases showcasing students’ sketchbooks, framed prints hanging on the wall. The sheer variety of subjects demonstrated the rich sources of imagination that the students drew upon during their ten weeks in New Zealand and Australia last term. Flipping through the sketchbooks displayed around the room, art ranged from line sketches, black and white ink landscapes, bridges, buildings, and detailed portraits of indigenous people to watercolor of lakes, kangaroos, and other students.

When asked what her favorite part of the trip was, Lisa Qiu (’16) answered her favorite part was “how many places we got to experience in ten weeks. We explored both national parks and major cities in New Zealand and Australia.” Fred Hagstrom, professor of studio art and the leader of the Carleton seminar in studio art to the South Pacific, focused on the potential of using art to tell a narrative and as a unique way to understand a part of the world that many Carleton students have never experienced before.

While learning about indigenous and post-colonial art, reflected in some of the displayed relief prints, students also read books on the history of the pacific and aboriginal Australians. Their stay with the Maori tribe could also be seen in some pages of the students’ displayed flip-through sketchbooks, while most chose to focus on the natural beauty of the sea and the sky. Rendered skillfully through soft watercolors, the contrast between the landscapes next to a methodically detailed ink sketch of a cathedral’s archway was stunning.

In the end, the intensity and rigor of daily training in drawing, through the lens of many different scenes and settings, shone through each student’s sketchbook, whether through highly inked and detailed palm trees, or a portrait of a Maori woman’s head done in water colors. The South Pacific Art Show presented examples of what the student artists themselves experienced, showing everyday life for people halfway across the world in inks and prints, and truly bringing out the narrative potential in art that can be less visible in a stationary college student’s point of view.

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