May 4, 2004

Art For Awareness
By Canyon Cody
Published in The Heights

When is art just art? When the Global Justice Project and UNICEF of Boston College sponsor a weekend of socially conscious art, poetry, and film in the Vanderslice Cabaret room to inspire and educate the community through artistic and verbal expression.

"Just Art was a small idea that was turned into an impressive reality last year," said Brigitte Hamadey, who organized Just Art with Gabriella Suau, UNICEF director. "This year we just tried to keep it going and make it better in order to give artists on campus a chance to share their talents."

The typically bare and sterile Cabaret room was transformed into an astonishingly beautiful gallery of painting and photography by BC undergraduate and graduate student artists. The artwork of student Eli Akerstein and alum Aimme Kallaugher were especially impressive and stood out in the multi-faceted art event, which lasted from April 22 until April 26.

Roberta Kaufman, BC '75, opened the weekend with a speech about her experience as a freelance photographer. Also performing on Friday was Long Division, a three-man Latin jazz band featuring Michael Collins, BC '07.

The highlight of the weekend was the open mic night sponsored by Naked Singularity. Spoken word poets Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman gave inspired performances in addition to "Shades of Silence," a performance by internationally known spoken word artist and activist Carlos Gomez, sponsored by the Hip-Hop Culture Club. A member of Def Jam Poetry family, Gomez's poetry was entertaining and inspiring, and touched on issues of international injustice such as prostitution in third world countries, as well as personal issues regarding love and betrayal.

On Sunday, Just Art escaped from the confines of the Cabaret room and brought music to the courtyard of Lower Dining Hall. A celebratory drum circle, sponsored by the Music Guild, was followed by a live reggae band called Wildest

Drums brought hoards of students outside to escape from studying for finals. Soon jubilant dancers were bouncing around while others tapped away at drums. It was a rare site to see BC students break out of their shell and dance around with such excited abandon.

In addition to the music and art, there was a discussion on activism for social justice led by professor Charles Derber and a film festival featuring politically-themed movies like City of God, 1984, and Eyes on the Prize.

"Arts Festival is great, but it's only once a year," said Hamadey. "Just Art is a wonderful opportunity for all the hidden artists at BC to come out."

The weekend was in fact a great opportunity, not only for the artists, but for everyone who enjoyed the myriad beautiful and entertaining events.

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