Social Anxiety, Strawberries and Art: The Horvath Exhibition Reception

By Amanda Dee '16

I see waves of blue, black and yellow tights; wedged heels and the CPC floor (I am looking down because people swarm all around me and I am alone).

“Do you want to swipe for a chance to win…”
“No,” I mutter as I attempt to slip past a lady trying to make me enter a contest.

But just as I think I’m done for, the strawberry lady in her sacred, all-black uniform saves me.

“Chocolate-covered strawberry?” 
Yes, I tell her, thanking her for her benevolence (not with words but with the chocolate dribbling down my chin).

This is my alt learning for Standers Symposium.  As a conclusion to Standers, The Horvath Exhibition reception annually showcases UD art, varying from photographs to clawed humanoid sculptures to faces.  

I approach one of the pieces.  It is wood.  A magenta skull and naked girl are etched into it.  

The strawberry lady is nowhere to be found, but I find solace in a spring roll and must up enough courage to speak to another human.  I pick one in yellow tights.  Coincidentally, I pick the artist of what I initially titled “Rad,” senior fine arts major Niky Motekallem.  (The piece is actually titled “And Our Fears Are Now Theirs To Mold.”)  Motekallem, besides telling me of her current “fondness” of wood as a medium, explains how her “Rad” piece was selected.

The art department faculty chooses a jury, or judge, from the professional art world.  This year, Motekallem says the judge is a photographer.  Students submit up to three pieces, then the jury declares the chosen ones.

I reach my social interaction capacity.  “Thank you,” I tell her and scurry back to the table of spring rolls.  I pace up and down the hallway, continuing to Snapchat the pieces that speak to me.  

Feeling brave after my first successful human conversation, I engage in another with senior graphic design major Kaitlin Meme.  Meme submitted a booklet for her grandmother, which she says, “…combines writing, photography and craft into one piece.”

She also is drawn to Niky’s piece, but she believes the spring rolls, not the strawberries, reign supreme -- a rift we can’t resolve.

I didn’t make any friends, and the strawberry lady has moved on (hopefully I will one day too); but, the exhibition will remain on display in the CPC until April 24.

Amanda Dee is a sophomore English and journalism major with obsessive tendencies. She is currently fixated on tooth gaps, one-piece swimsuits and aliens. When not dreaming about the extraterrestrial, she blogs; writes for the arts and entertainment section of Flyer News; and edits Voices Raised, the Women's Center newsletter.

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