Art with a bird’s eye view on social justice
By Yuri Smishkewych | Posted October 22, 2015
Years ago, from a hotel room in Madrid’s Gran Via, artist Alvin Quiñones was inspired by the bird’s eye view of the myriad of people walking about on the streets below.
“It [the view] allows us to look at people as just “people” and not make any judgments,” explained Quiñones who is an adjunct professor at Kean.
With this premise in mind, Quiñones created a series of works that uses this unique viewpoint to depict groups of people enigmatically.
One such work by Quiñones, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is currently part of the “We Are You Project” art exhibition at the Human Rights Institute Gallery on campus. The exhibition explores the themes of social justice and immigration and features work by Ibero-American artists from the United States and abroad.
The acrylic on wood painting is titled “Palante” and shows figures seen from above in proximity to a circular design that resembles a target. It creates an impression in the viewer’s mind of the ultimate goals that people—regardless of their origin or destination—have. The inference is wholly dependent on the observer.
What Quiñones’ painting does, along with the other artworks at the exhibit, is it opens dialogue that addresses the many present-day issues, like social justice and immigration, that are not only relevant to the Latino experience, but also to all of those that form a part of our diverse American identity.
Quiñones urges fellow Kean professors and alumni to use the art exhibit as forum where these topics can be discussed, adding “that it’s a great place for a field trip…and it’s right here on campus.”
The “We Are You Project” exhibit also features work by others in the Kean community, including adjunct professor Josephine Barreiro, graphic designer Ricardo Fonseca, and alumnus Nelson Álvarez, ’08.
In addition to the exhibit, the Human Rights Institute held a poetry reading on October 8th and will be holding a film screening on November 9th. Furthermore, a guest lecture and panel discussion is scheduled to be held on November 16th. The “We Are You Project” exhibit, featuring Quiñones’ work, will be on display until January 2016.