CAM exhibit combines visual and writing works
THE CAMERON ART MUSEUM is currently presenting a visual art/writing exhibit entitled She tells a story, and those asked to be a part of it in the Wilmington community jumped at the chance.
She tells a story, on display through September, celebrates the work of dozens of women – fifty-two visual artists from CAM’s permanent collection and fourteen local writers, according to the museum.
“As we were planning out the exhibition schedule, we already had several in the works as we realized that these exhibitions focused on male artists,” say museum spokeswoman KIM KELLY.
Pieces from artists such as Mary Cassatt were included, as well as new acquisitions to the collection or work that has not been on view in years, Kelly says.
“As a way to bring new meaning to the works in the collection, we decided to approach Wilmington-area writers to create new work inspired by the artwork in the exhibition,” she says. “We were looking for diversity – in their chosen writing medium, age, and ethnicity. This juxtaposition of visual with word illuminates how artists communicate their experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through their chosen medium.”
AMRITA DAS (above), associate professor of Spanish at University of North Carolina Wilmington, felt personally challenged by the opportunity and knew it was one she had to accept.
“I am not a creative writer of fiction or nonfiction like many of the participants in this wonderful project,” Das says. “I am a trained literary critic. I analyze literary works for a living.”
Das, who has studied Spanish since she was nineteen, found her field when she was twenty-four, “serendipitously walking through the grounds of the University of Alcalá in the hometown of Cervantes. I found a flyer for a summer course on Caribbean Women Writers Writing in English, which included Puerto Rican and Cuban writers living in the United States. This would become my Ph.D. dissertation topic and, finally, my field.”
This opportunity to work on the CAM exhibit – she was paired up with a piece by artist Minnie Evans – was challenging for Das because of how much it differed from her daily job.
“Writing is an integral part of my profession – I am trained to argue a point made by a piece of writing. My process involves reading the literary text, sometimes many times, taking notes, thinking about it, which can take days or even months, while driving, doing groceries, or even sleeping. Simply put, it is a long and arduous journey, and most of it is solitary; it involves long periods of sitting in front of the computer, staring at the cursor on a blank page or a half-filled one,” Das says. “Responding to Minnie Evans’ art piece was less onerous since it was a personal response and not a critical one.”
She adds that she also liked the idea of bringing art and community together.
“We all respond to art in our own ways,” she says, “and this seemed actually a way to vocalize those responses into words.”
She tells a story
Runs through September 11, at the Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street
Info: 395-5999 cameronartmuseum.org.
To view more of photographer Kevin Kleitches' work, visit www.kevintitusphoto.com.