Reflection of Humanity by River City Art Association member Deanna Swearingen of Brazil, Indiana received the People’s Choice award at the March 30 closing reception for the Vigo County Public Library’s Wabash Valley Community Read Artist Exhibition.
The 2016 Community Read book selection is “Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard,” by Indiana State University professor Dr. Laura Bates.
The exhibition was a reflection of Bates’ work as she teaches Shakespeare to maximum-security prisoners.
In her book, Bates explains that by engaging with prisoners and incorporating Shakespeare she is “introducing critical thinking to people who have never had that opportunity.”
In keeping with that theme for the exhibition, the library asked artists “In what other interesting ways can we connect with Shakespeare?”
Artists of all mediums were encouraged to create entries inspired by the theme “An Unconventional Shakespeare,” and based on any work by William Shakespeare.
Swearingen’s photography entry was based on the line from Macbeth, “Let every man be master of his time.” She set the stage with a prisoner reading “Shakespeare Saved My Life.”
The Woods Enchanted by RCAA member Sheila K. Ter Meer, also of Brazil, took second place in the voting by library patrons.
Photography by Ter Meer incorporated fantasy and a bridge over Le Fer Lake at Saint Mary-of-the Woods College, thus titled “The Woods Enchanted.”
In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Shakespeare wrote of a forest enchanted specifically by the presence of Oberon and Titania, the fairy king and queen. Like many forests in Shakespeare’s works, it becomes a place of metamorphosis and resolution. People come out of the forest changed for the better.
RCAA artists Todd Stokes and Don Turner, both of Terre Haute, also had entries in the Community Read exhibition.
Stokes created an etched glass piece titled Fear and Anxiety. Always a representation of the performing arts, the comedy and tragedy masks have always interested me, Stokes said. These atypical renderings show fear and anxiety.
Turner’s charcoal and pastel drawing, titled Ringtime, and based on Shakespeare’s poem, “It Was a Lover and His Lass,” and the song “As You Like it,” (Act V, Scene II), features a woodcutter and a milkmaid on a spring day just before their marriage.