Displaying Spain

One day a little girl gets a pencil and a piece of paper. The girl started drawing as her imagination fired up. Although she lives as a refugee in Spain, that piece of paper serves as a way for her to shape a different world inside her imagination. 

That is a story that Todd Smith, chair of the studio and digital arts department and director of the art gallery at Liberty University, said is possible because of the initiative connected to the Spanish art exhibition during Global
Focus Week. 

“Think of the range of expression you have here,” Smith said. “They are highly professional, highly complete highly finished, masters of a technique and material creating works of art. Then you move from that to children or adults who want to express themselves in a situation where they are just trying to survive”  

The exhibition at the art gallery in Green Hall includes paintings by Jesus Navarro, Salvador Caballero and Alvar Suñol. All of them
Spanish artists.

“I felt a connection with the paintings and with Spanish culture,” Carolina Chavarria, student at Liberty University said. “I was specially amazed that some of the paintings looked more like pictures because they were realistic and detailed.” 

Smith said there is mastery in each piece that is being shown. With the more realist pieces there is richness in technique. 

“The way lights fall across the subject of the piece and then the modeling that takes place with the medium, which is paint, gives the illusion of reality,” Smith said. “The technical skill in doing that is amazing.”

Students come to learn as well as to appreciate the message that comes with learning from a different country.

“It is important to learn from other cultures and expand your mindset,” Chavarria said. “It is even better when it comes to promote initiatives that would help children express themselves.”

Smith also said that with the abstract pieces people perceive different meanings and interpret the painting through what they are living. 

“What happens with art is that is allows our imagination to kick in whereas sometimes we analyze things so much with our rational side,” Smith said. “But art allows us to come into a piece and take from it some element that we couldn’t
see before.”  

The art gallery joined the G5 initiative and used pieces that have been donated or purchased by Liberty University to initiate a project to promote cultural shape. LU Serve trips are open for students who want to go to Spain to serve the
community of refuges, specially the children that have been affected. 

“The whole idea is the use of art to help other cultures around the world, [and] by collecting art materials is so simple,” Smith said. “Those things that we see children do all the time are things that we want to use to influence cultures.” 

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