For the Fall 2014 semester, we had a great group of students from Italy, Greece, India, China, and the US. (List below directs you to their individual student profile pages):
- Alexa Katz, USA
- Anna Fabrizi, Italy
- Antonis Tasoulis, Greece
- Eleonora Rotolo, Italy
- Giorgos Apostolopoulos, Greece
- Sofia Bteibet, Italy
- Sreyashi Bhattacharyya “Tinni”, India
- Yichong Hu “Della”, China
The central project of the Art & Society course this autumn was inspired by the work of our fall project fellow, Palestinian artist Wafa Hourani, in a collaborative project entitled “Orientamenti: Reshaping Past Traditions” working together with the Sienese Museums Foundation, the City of Colle Val d’Elsa and the Muslim Association of Siena and its Province, Wafa Hourani’s work explores the themes of territories, borders, cross-cultural interactions, identity, belonging and human rights, and means of artistic expression in situations of crisis or sociopolitical/economic difficulty.
In our increasingly global and inter-connected society, what is meant today by the word “territory”?
How do “territories” relate to your own personal experience?
From our precarious positions in a world of intersecting and overlapping territories, what artworks can we create as a response?
In the Art and Society course this semester, we will be working together to explore and be inspired by our surroundings here in Tuscany, and to consider how the dynamics of inter-cultural dialogue can impact our contemporary art practices. Our student artists will be guided through a series of projects to foster their ongoing portfolio development, receiving feedback about their work from classmates, teachers, and our visiting artists. Visits to cultural sites, exhibitions, and museums, as well as reference materials such as books and articles will further enhance the development of their artistic projects during the semester.
The Art & Society course in the Fall 2014 semester was divided into three main project units:
Intro Unit: Orientation and Disorientation: Narrating Spaces
Exploring the territory of Siena including the city of Colle Val d’Elsa, both its history as well as its contemporary realities. Creating artworks as initial responses to our new-found surroundings.
Mid-Term Unit: Reshaping Past Traditions: Photo-Life
Inspired by the work of Wafa Hourani, we worked on the development of artistic projects addressing themes of territories and encounters between cultures as seen through your eyes. Along with the development of individual studio projects, we worked together with Wafa Hourani on an installation “Today Is Tomorrow -The Future of Colle” employing his technique of “Photo-Life” to imagine what the local territory could become in the future. On Nov 15 this part of the semester culminated in a symposium in Colle Val d’Elsa exploring the theme of territories, including the exhibition of the collaborative Photo-Life project, and an Open Studio showcasing students’ individual work at the Siena Art Institute on Nov 14. The symposium involved panel discussions, dialogue and debate in which contemporary art served as a focal point for bringing together different ideas, cultures and sensibilities in a spirit of diversity and tolerance.
Culminating in the end-of-semester exhibition opening Dec 13, held at the Siena Art Institute, students further expanded upon their earlier projects in the creation of their end-of-semester projects. Over mid-term break students drafted a written project proposal explaining their ideas for their final project, and through individual advising, thematic discussions, and group critiques, they were supported in the development of their final project work. The final exhibition remained on view for one week at the Siena Art Institute and was free and open to the public.
For more information about Wafa Hourani and the ORIENTamenti project, visit: http://www.sienaart.org/wafa-hourani-orientamenti.html