Monday, September 20, 2010

Common Ground Between Artsy Kids and Loyola Students

Nicole and I both realized that as much as we’d love to do the service option, there was no way that we would be able to with our busy schedules. We both noted there was an exhibit on an artist last Thursday after class and we agreed to go together. We were punctual and arrived on time, however no one else did. We slowly walked around to see two large, barren walls covered with two life-size photographs, while other small frames decorated the other two walls. As interesting as a frozen car was, that wasn’t what stood out about going to this event, and I’m sure Nicole can agree with me.

After grabbing dinner at Mein Bowl, we walked into the exhibit and I immediately felt out of place. I was wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts while the other people there seemed a bit more properly dressed. At the beginning, when not many people were there, it was okay that I was dressed that way. However, as soon as more people began to show up, I felt more and more uncomfortable. I could hear people thinking that I didn’t belong there. As the people began to show up, I took notice of what each person was wearing. One man, for instance, was wearing a bandana around his neck, tied like an ascot, with a button down shirt way too unbuttoned for his age, and shorts with sandals. I saw a male college student with a bandana around his forehead, in a nice shirt and skinny jeans. Another female college student was wearing a pink blouse with a short, black skirt and tights. They all looked at me like I didn’t belong there, even though Loyola is my school. When these people came in I saw that one of the people had a Towson University shirt on, so I just couldn’t understand why these people, who don’t even go to Loyola, made me feel uncomfortable in a place that I clearly should feel comfortable.

When the artist, Sub Wribicam, began to speak, everyone circled up around her. The people who made me feel uncomfortable were huddled together on the opposite side of the room, while Nicole and I were near the door. Ms. Wribicam began to speak about her work, but in a poetic narrative. Her exhibit is called “Propegation of Uncertainty.” She talked about how her photographs were not necessarily supposed to stand on their own, but rather, stringing experiences through minimal photography. She didn’t think her work was a series of work, but rather, a conversation between photographs. As Nicole and I were taking notes, I saw the college student with the bandana around his head look at me with my pen and notepad and give me a look of disgust. I could almost hear his words of “Oh, just some student coming here for a class.” However, at the end of Wribicam’s talk, when she asked if anyone had any questions, it was apparent that he did not seem to know anything about her topic, either. He only assumed the fact that he belonged there more than me because he looked the part of an artsy student.

Now this next paragraph is a little off topic but relevant to my point. One of my best friends from home, Joe, goes to MICA in Baltimore. MICA stands for Maryland Institute College of Art, in case people aren’t familiar with the school. Anyway, I went to visit him last Saturday, and as a joke I tried to dress as artsy as possible. When I walked out of my dorm, I saw people at Loyola look at me with questioning looks on their faces. Regardless, I took a taxi over there and it is a completely different scene. When Joe introduced me to his friends there, they asked what I was studying at MICA. I laughed and said I go to Loyola. Immediately everyone was surprised and basically said, “Oh, well you don’t look like someone who goes to Loyola.” I realized, then, how much of a difference an outfit could make on someone’s first impression. I jokingly tried to look “indie” and appeared as if I could fit in at an art school. I’m sure if I wore the same outfit to the art gallery, that guy with the bandana would not have looked at me like I didn’t belong.

Sorry to digress from the from my main topic, but anyway, one main point from Wribicam’s poetic narrative struck me that I thought fit in with our discussions of the reading. To be honest, I don’t remember what it was related to, but she said, “Remember your mortality.” Immediately I thought of “Common Ground” by Judith Ortiz Cofer. She was so honest and spoke in such a matter-of-fact way that, yes, everyone dies, and everyone goes to the same place when they die. I thought of the guy in the exhibit and how he prejudged me, just as the kids at MICA did based on my appearance. No, I am not an art student, nor could I paint to save my life, but I do appreciate art. I thought it was interesting proof that people do judge people based on their appearances. Usually, we also have common qualities that link us, but some people won’t explore those qualities just because of the way we may look. I know this has opened my eyes to my own judgment in other Loyola students. Because of this, I’m going to try to stop prejudging people, after all, we all end up in the same common ground.

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