Student Art Calls Attention to Race, Class Elitism

Several Wesleyan students of color are hosting an art show Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery South through the end of Feburary. Pictured is a photograpy collage titled "En Kolkata" created by Priya Ghosh '09.

An exhibit titled "Be the Art: You Want to See in the World" is on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, South Gallery through Feb. 15. The show will be transferred to Usdan University Center thereafter. Pictured is a collage of photographs titled "En Kolkata" created by Priya Ghosh '09.

Maggie Taylor

Maggie Taylor, public safety officer, looks closely at a sculpture made by Lorena Estrella '10. "Be the Art," formerly known as "Skittles," is an exhibition of student art that calls attention to race and class-related elitism in the art world.

Melanie Nelson '09, also an artist in the show, looks at her peers' artwork.

Melanie Nelson '09, also an artist in the show, looks at her peers' artwork. The vibrant mixed media artwork in the background is titled "The Struggle of Diversity University," and is made by Luz Burgos '09.

At left, Priya Ghosh '09, one of the student curators who started the show three years ago, and Karimah Nichols '09 look over art together.

At left, Priya Ghosh '09, one of the student curators who started the show three years ago, and Karimah Nichols '09, at right, look over art together. Both students are members of the show's curating/planning committee.

Sara'o Bery '09 and Mimi Bai '09 browse the gallery's collection.

Sara'o Bery '09 and Mimi Bai '09 look at a photograph titled "Gaza Protest" by Kethaki Nair '09.

MelanieNelson '09, at left, talks about her photographs titled "Naturaleza Interior" to Marsha Jean-Charles '11.

Melanie Nelson '09, at left, talks about her photographs titled "Naturaleza Interior" to Marsha Jean-Charles '11. Nelson says her photos represent two spaces that have been important to her growth and reconnection to her culture.

Saeid Vahidi '09 looks at art made by Carolyn Ariori '09.

Saeid Vahidi '09 looks at comic book art titled "Broiling Fury" by Carolyn Ariori '09. Ariori says her comic is a graphic representation of her college racial self-exploration. "While being black/brown/biracial is an important part of who I am and the experiences I have, in my own eyes I am a person, a student, shy, funny, awkward, loud, … kind, loving, generous, selfish, weird, awesome, lazy, myself, unapologetically."

Carolyn Ariori '09 looks over artwork during the show's grand opening.

Carolyn Ariori '09 browses the gallery. The exhibition is co-sponsored by Center for African American Studies (CAAS), Office of Diversity and Strategic Partnerships and Office of Affirmative Action, and Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

More than 100 guests attended the show's grand opening Feb. 6. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

More than 220 guests attended the show's grand opening Feb. 6. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

More information on “Be the Art” is online at: http://betheart.wordpress.com/