Pandemic perspectives on display at Watzek

Photo by Alex Barr

From attending school during a global pandemic to the wildfires that ravaged the West Coast, the Fall 2020 semester was peculiar and well-documented by Lewis & Clark students. To conclude this unusual semester, students were asked to submit images for Aubrey R. Watzek Library’s “Alone Together: Colors, Thoughts, and Feelings of a Pandemic” exhibition. The exhibition showcases 19 photos of what the Fall 2020 semester looked like within the LC community. 

The project began with a conversation about how to utilize the library’s atrium space. Library staff wanted to welcome students into the library, while following  COVID-19 restrictions.

“There is not the same feeling and energy about the library,” Watzek subject guide Parvaneh Abbaspour said. “We thought of the project as a way of bringing student voices together and sharing perspectives on the walls to bring that same spirit back.” 

The exhibition is reflective of its title, “Alone Together.”  The pieces that have been compiled together aim to reflect the consequences of a COVID-stricken world. 

“Some students reflect the trappings of the pandemic with face masks and Zoom,” Abbaspour said. “One thing we noticed when we were putting the photos together is a couple of them have more than one person in them. A lot of them are solitary and contemplative.” 

The exhibition was curated by Destiny Gonzalez ’22 who had experience from the Curatorial Affairs in the Arts course taught by Adjunct Professor of Art Yaelle Amir. The physical display emphasizes symmetry and color themes found in the photos. 

“The way that you lay out (the photos) is important because it determines what scene is first or last depending on where the viewer is and how things are actually perceived,” Gonzalez said. 

While many of the submissions conveyed a lingering theme of gloom, others showed the day-to-day lives of LC students in a global pandemic.

“Red and orange hues that we see when we think of apocalyptic themes were really present in the photos,” Gonzalez said. “There was also a consistent theme (that) this is life, it is a lot more simple than we all think it is and it is not always so bad. There are a lot of photos that people submitted of people sitting at their desk, on their computer, which I think is a very true representation of what life is like right now in a pandemic as a student.”

The exhibition is currently being showcased in the Watzek Library atrium and a virtual display can be found at the Watzek library website. The library is still accepting photo submissions, and the link to submit a photo can also be found on the library website. 

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