Birds of a feather flock together at Kean
By: Vera Boateng
Creative and independent artwork by students in the Fine Arts and Design departments are presented in the first floor student gallery each semester at the Vaughn Eames Building. From Jan. 21 to Jan. 28, Artist and Kean alumni, Michelle Harpster, featured her works entitled, “Birds of a Feather.”
Harpster, a Summa Cum Laude recipient, graduated from Kean in 2014 and earned her bachelor’s degree in K-12 Art education. She is also a member of the Lambda Alpha Sigma Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society.
Harpster returned to Kean as a Graduate Assistant in Fall 2014. She has also studied abroad in countries such as Brazil and Italy to gain more knowledge in the arts. Her other works include “When Feathers Fly” that was shown in 2014.
According to the exhibit, it showed how the birds offer insight into a world of visual symbolism and how perceptions of different bird species are different throughout cultures and folklore. For example, some differences in perceptions are that birds are seen as signs of renewed life or the transition between life and death. Also, that the birds for mankind, suggest that they are signs of eternal life
The exhibit also pointed out how owls were perceived in countries such as Africa and Europe. In Africa, owls are associated with witchcraft and bad luck. In Europe owls are perceived as wise creatures. Other types of birds discussed in the exhibit were doves and ravens.
Harpster said that her line-work in each of the works in the exhibit showed unique, delicate, beauty. She also wrote in the exhibit introduction, that the birds act as a spiritual vessel for transition and growth.
The artist’s reception to birds of a feather was held on Jan. 26 in the student gallery in the Vaughn Eames Building.
Some other gallery exhibitions to come this semester include: “Only Human” by Aliyah Bradley in the Vaughn Eames Student Gallery, “Mill Street Salon: Beyond the Image”, in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery, “Norm Chow, Outsider” in the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery, “Wish You Were Here” by Bridget Schmidt and Jesse Michalski in the Vaughn Eames Student Gallery, and Jan Karski “The World Knew” in the Human Rights Institute Gallery in the library.