Rick Shaefer: Refugee Trilogy Exhibit Opens Sept. 7
The rebranded Fairfield University Art Museum — formerly the Bellarmine Museum of Art — presents “Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy,” a monumental new series created by the artist in response to the ongoing refugee crisis convulsing the globe, on view from Thursday, September 8, through Saturday, October 22, 2016 in the museum’s Walsh Gallery. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will take place in the Quick Center for the Arts on Wednesday, September 7, from 6-7:30 p.m.
This three-piece suite is comprised of Land Crossing, dealing with the migration across foreign lands; Water Crossing, addressing the perilous journeys of refugees on the open seas; and Border Crossing, spotlighting the conflicts and hostilities faced at borders. The trilogy employs the artistic lexicon of the Baroque (specifically incorporating heroic figurative elements of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens) to explore this contemporary crisis in a language both familiar and canonical. Such historical quotations underscore the tenacious persistence of this epic human tragedy throughout time.
In addition to the three triptychs, each executed in charcoal on vellum, the exhibition will include more than a dozen of Shaefer’s preparatory drawings for the series. These show the artist focusing his attention on many individual details such as a lion’s head, a horse’s head and rump and close-ups of the faces of refugees in the center panel of Land Crossing.
The audio tour for this exhibition will include the voices of resettled refugee and immigrant youth, students and teachers of the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University who have written and recorded stories of migration and movement, and their thoughts on the current crisis, to share with the audience of the Refugee Trilogy.
Venü is the exhibition media sponsor.
The Walsh Gallery of the Fairfield University Art Museum is located in the Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University at 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, Conn. It is free and open to the public Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., when classes are in session. Please consult the museum website for details (fairfield.edu/museum).
Image credit: Rick Shaefer, Water Crossing, 2016. Charcoal on vellum. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Extensive programming has been planned around the exhibition of these powerful and timely works.
All events are FREE and open to the public but pre-registration is requested.
- September 7, 5 p.m. Opening reception. Stijn Alsteens, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will give a lecture on Rubens and the Art of Inspiration. Wien Experimental Theatre at the Quick Center. Register Now.
- September 14, 5 p.m. Artist talk with Rick Shaefer and innovative South African playwright Brett Bailey, whose new work in progress, “The Raft,” is also a response to the current refugee crisis and, like Shaefer’s pictorial series, finds inspiration in Gericault’s haunting Raft of the Medusa. Bailey and his company, Third World Bun Fight, will be in residence at the Quick Center to open the U.S. premiere of Verdi’s Macbeth on September 16 and 17. Walsh Art Gallery at the Quick Center. Register Now.
- September 20, 5 p.m. A panel discussion, The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Over Land and Sea, with Dr. Silvia Marsans-Sakly (Asst. Prof. of History, Islamic World), Julie Whittaker ’12 (Amal Foundation), Wendy Christian (Save the Children USA) and artist Rick Shaefer. Walsh Art Gallery at the Quick Center. Register Now.
- September 23, 6:30 p.m. An Islamic Calligraphy Workshop with American Islamic calligrapher and artist Faraz Khan, the 2015 artist-in-residence at the Arts Council of Princeton University. Walsh Art Gallery at the Quick Center. Register Now.
- September 26, at 7 p.m. Screening of the film Salam Neighbor followed by a conversation with the director Chris Temple gives an intimate look inside the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan where 85,000 Syrians struggle to restart their lives. Kelley Theater at the Quick Center. Register Now.
- October 18, at 5 p.m. Dr. Lisa Brody (Yale University) will give a lecture on Dura-Europos: Exploring and Preserving Cultural Heritage in Roman Syria. Multi-Media room in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library on Fairfield's campus. Register Now.