Watson Gallery Reflections

Gallery Reflections

What thoughts or feelings do these objects evoke for you?

The Museums invited students to reflect on objects in Inscapes: Paintings by Evelyn Dawson and Breaking the Chains: Ceramics and Abolition Movement temporarily displayed in the Watson Galleries. Visitors are invited to share their own reactions when they visit the Galleries through Summer 2021. Admission is available to current W&L community with advanced timed-entry.

"Remember Them…"

Jerónimo Reyes '21
Majors: Biology and Art History
"It is interesting that the oldest of the three references at play, the ‘Am I Not a Woman and a Sister” image, is between the two more contemporary references, that of Colin Kaepernick, and a pride flag calling for equality. The inclusion of the ‘Am I Not a Woman’ imagery charges the piece with a history that is often purposely forgotten and obscured by the very people who such a figure needed liberating from, it calls back to how such an oppressing and slaving class needed to be flattered and begged to in order to potentially gain their support. It calls to how, even in the abolition movement, there was a patriarchal focus that often-left enslaved women out of the conversation, thus delegitimizing the very same struggles they shared with enslaved men. More than that, however, the fact that the artist subtitled the image with ‘Remember them that are in bonds,” and titled the piece simply “Remember Them…,” speaks to the artists’ desire to evoke the experiences and epistemically erased lives and voices of the innumerable people who were kidnapped, tortured, abused, lived, and died with their freedom robbed of them. That this image and these implications rests between that of Kaepernick and the ‘Equality’ sign shows not only a connection between the struggles that fueled all three movements, but that, there is a social and class connection between those who have to protest against a system that does not value them or considers them as equals to the dominant class, whether it be for the color or their skin or who they are and whom love. Kaepernick shown with the radiating aura seen in so many candles of saints is fitting, portraying him as a martyr of the modern day, vilified by millions simply for daring to question why it seems that a Black life is work so much less than a white one, at least in the eyed of those who are meant to protect and serve people of all races, background, and creeds…"

"Remember Them.."

Alexander Caines '21
Majors: Mathematics and Computer Science
"In the ancient world — from the horn of Africa to the Mediterranean — scenes from myths and epics were often engraved into cases to commemorate ideals preserved by the culture in question. The first image I came across on “Remember Them…” struck a deep chord in me: A kneeling Colin Kaepernick circumscribed by a halo of outward facing bullet casings. Such an image reminds me of the memorials one sees in churches or on the sides of busy roads where the image of the deceased is engulfed in flowers, letters of love and remembrance, patron saints of objects of remembrance, or objects of appreciation. Although holy in effect, the image of Kaepernick surrounded by a hail of bullets seems like an omen—a warning of what might be, lest we lose our strength and fall down. Adjacent to Kaepernick is the image of an enslaved African women, captioned “remember them that are in bonds.” I cannot help but think of vestiges of the colonial empires of yesterday that to this day still wage war on the people who they disposed and occupied. I finally find myself confronted with a familiar message “EQUALITY” sandwiched between the great American maxim “Congress shall evoke no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or the press…” I stare at this vase, which embodies the essence of struggle, a hope that it — like the myths and epics of times past — does not lose its meaning."

Chills

Ella Powers '22
Major: Cognitive and Behavioral Science (Poverty Studies minor)
"The blues of this painting are evocative of many fond memories I have living in the Blue Ridge mountains. The dichotomies of the light green contrasted with the darker green remind me of the outline of the clouds on a day when the sun finally breaks through above the mountains. Memories of the silver lining of the clouds take on a far greater meaning than what meets the eye. These silver linings remind me of all that is good in the world and all that I must be grateful for. I am reminded of the gifts of this life and the awe of creation. The presence of such intimate moments with nature captivates my being and leaves me with chills."

Judgement

Estrella Burks-Parra '23
Major: Theatre and Politics
"Looking atJudgement, I see an internal battle. I notice the light in the image trying to shine through, penetrating the dark negativity attempting to close in and diminish the flame of our hearts. This red flame is an eternal fire within our souls, full of judgments regarding ourselves and the world around us, but also full of so much love. It is a part of our survival, a natural instinct. A fight that we must engage in to get through this life. It is what we as humans have been conditioned to do - judge and assess. But so often we get stuck judging ourselves. Judging ourselves for mistakes of the past, judging decisions made outside of our control, and judging the person that we are. These are the dark judgements, the feelings and thoughts that when left unchecked will run rampant, causing pandemonium, and destroying the beautiful flame of our hearts. Thus, we must allow the light in, to touch our souls, reminding us of all that is good and full of love. Because this is not about light vs. dark, or good vs. evil, but instead about the harmony, peace and protection that we are granted once we achieve this beautiful balance, where our judgements can do the greatest good, preventing calamity and achieving divinity within our souls."

Cosmos

Alexander Caines '21 Majors: Mathematics and Computer Science
"People like to say that as we grow older, the notion of a favorite color becomes less relevant and although, I can attest to this for one part of my life, I feel as it I am rediscovering what green means to me now with respect to what it meant to the past. Green, most importantly, was the color of my favorite class or elemental heroes in the Bionicle Universe. I spent many years collecting comics of, watching and rewatching tributes to, and customizing the green-clad heroes. These fantasies and memories for me are the essence of that unexplainable childhood bliss.
"As I grew older, I for some reason became fonder of hues of blue. Quite honestly, I cannot tell you exactly why. Though in looking back, the more I saw the world in shapes of blue, the further I felt myself drift from my inner child. A few years ago, I was catching up with an old friend who in the middle of a conversation about forested landscapes blurted “I want to live in a world where I am surrounded by green.” I could have not told you then why my mind had sympathized so greatly with my old friend’s manifestation. However, I now realize it to have been part of my childhood—still extent in the mélange of my personal—reaching out and folding a dog-ear on that little chapter in my life.
"I now understand why green is so important to me. The bursts of the different hues used in the painting before me remind me of myself as a child. The terrain of the piece, characterized by the intersecting of different regions represents my capacity for change—someone yet not dulled by the world. I’m getting back."