Review: The Outdoor Photo Exhibit at Nathan Benderson Park. An Artistic View of the Human Experience.
“The Good Dishes” by JP Terlizzi, which spoke of the social ritual of sharing meals together. The significance of togetherness in connection to family heirlooms. The photographs boasted of vibrant colors and unique heirlooms that served to remind us of our own traditions both past and present. It evoked the spirit of unity amidst the new normal and social distancing. As I looked upon this visual masterpiece, I couldn’t help but reflect into my own experiences where family would meet during the holidays over the special silverware and dishes that had only been seen on special occasions. Attaching outside images to our inner story is commonplace and essentially what the artist aspires to do. Nevertheless, I responded accordingly, as I thought of all of those precious moments spent with family by the dinner table and in some cases by the television, sitting together and sharing together. Many of these were simple conversations that sometimes led to more complex discussions which embraced not only the moment, but also the bigger picture of togetherness. Do certain family heirlooms remind you of a special time or place?
“Black Rice” by Inyang Essien, depicted images of rice grains across the lining of a woman’s hair. This particular image discusses the relevance of enclosing rice and seeds as a means of preserving nutrition during enslavement. This was a vital transitionary tool and means of food security. The photo was not only a reminder of an important aspect of history, but also a true testament of the human spirit to press forward even during the most challenging times. This signified to me the preservation of culture, history and fortitude.
While some photographs depicted images that were reflective of history, culture and society. There were some that explored imagination, such as: “Between Heaven and Earth” by Joyce P. Lopez. In this image of fascinating blended colors, Joyce discusses being influenced as a child by simply looking up at the sky and observing the formation of clouds. I found the inspiration and thought process quite relatable, as I can recall when I was a child and looking at a certain object or chipped paint on a wall and creating a unique image that most wouldn’t be able to see through their own lens. Between Heaven and Earth, celebrates the innocence of imagination coupled with the willingness and maturity to explore it.
"Healing Landscape: A Damaged World in Transformation” by Joson. This work was inspired by Salt Ponds their aesthetic beauty and natural transformation. Joson, captures the most prominent colors and the innate beauty of transformation. These works of art show a recognition of the connection between the rebirth of salt ponds and human beings. Joson references being a Buddhist and tying together the deeper sense of transformation that manages to transcend us.
In closing, I will tell you that this journey quickly became introspective because it allowed myself as well as any other admirer of art, the opportunity to connect to each piece through description and by capturing the moment. The photographs unmasked the human experience while making it beautiful and truly memorable. I thank Nathan Benderson Park and all of the artists involved for not only sharing these beautiful works of art, but for also allowing us to explore the human experience through the lens of an artist.