Facing the subject of homelessness through sculptures, senior Kaitlin West is leaving her mark on Samford’s Fine Arts Department. Held in the Samford Art Gallery, West’s Humanity exhibit is open to the public until Friday, Nov. 16. West shared her passion for sculpting, the future that she is pursuing as an artist, and the inspiration behind her Humanity art show.
While West will graduate with a fine arts Samford diploma, her specialty and passions lie in sculpting. Her current classes, along with the senior art exhibit, largely focus on sculpture. West plans to apply to graduate art programs and display her talents with sculptures showcased in this Humanity show. After her graduate studies, West aspires to be a fine arts professor.
Regarding the senior show itself, the theme of humanity in connection to homelessness influences each of West’s pieces. The exhibit’s name, “Humanity”, captures the message that West hopes viewers take away from the show.
“The whole show is based on restoring humanity to people…(and) seeing the people instead of seeing the fact that they are homeless,” West said.
In her senior project, West aimed to reach beyond her natural artistic talents to produce conversation-sparking and eye-opening pieces. Inspired by a personal friend who currently experiences homelessness, West chose to focus on combating stereotypes and stigmas attached to homelessness today. West felt called to address this issue that is oftentimes shied away from, in her perspective.
“(Homelessness) is something that is not talked about. I think it’s not talked about because you don’t want to realize that you’re just ignoring it and you don’t want to realize that you’re just looking away…when someone is struggling and at their lowest point,” West said.
The challenge West faced in creating art pointing to this issue was not in the art form itself, but in accurately conveying the multi-layered subject of homelessness in America.
West said, “Making the (art) work is a natural thing for me. That’s just how I process through things.”
The deeper challenge came in “trying to portray something accurately that I’ve never actually experienced,” West said.
With this subject in mind, West’s “Humanity” exhibit will be more than a show, but an experience in which students can interact with the pieces and utilize their unique points of view. West hopes that student visitors will enter the exhibit with an open mind and be ready to shine their perspectives as they view the variety of sculptures.
“If you spend time with a piece, it will speak for itself…That’s the beautiful thing about art — art is its own language and can speak so many different things, but it is the same piece right in front of you,” West said.
Students are encouraged to come and support West’s senior show with open eyes and minds at the Samford Art Gallery until Friday, Nov. 16. A reception honoring West and her work will be held in the Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.