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1st Student's Major

Art

1st Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Students' Professional Biography

Nicole Shelton is acquiring a major in art history with a minor in studio art. After obtaining a bachelors degree, Nicole will pursue a master’s degree in art history as well. This education will provide the basis to enter an art museum within a research, archival, or educational department. Presenting this body of research at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Cleveland Museum of Art has expedited skill development and increased perception of the processes that research requires.

Mentor's Name

Curt Germundson

Mentor's Email Address

curt.germundson@mnsu.edu

Mentor's Department

Art

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Artist Mona Hatoum, a Palestinian born in Beirut and educated in London, has experienced the boundaries and displacement of exile. These have become influential in her work and are implied within some of her statements. Compared are the external experiences of a double-exile directly to her subjectivity, culminating in a discussion of works of art such as Light Sentence (Fig. 3) and Homebound (Fig. 7), and highlighting the issue of cross-cultural exchange. This artist is one of many exhibiting cultural exchange within art as a manifestation of hybridization of different cultures, even if the artist does not acknowledge this multiplicity. Because Hatoum values the way viewers experience and interpret her installations, her themes are made ambiguous promoting a type of universality, although, as I want to argue, at heart they are linked to her personal history. Her intentions are given physical form through the space in which her minimalistic installations communicate to her audience. The nature of installation goes hand-in-hand with the needs of the artist to create an experience of displacement, which seems to resonate with themes of exile. Misinterpretation of her work occurs when over- emphasis is placed on her origins and a separation from western influences is assumed. Although her aesthetic concerns are important, I see her biography as equally important towards affecting the subject matter of her work. In reference to The Light at the End (fig. 10), the artist stated: “This is partly a personal metaphor but I think my most successful work has managed to distance itself from any personal or historical specificities”.1 In this instance, I have found biographical analysis equally important as visual interpretation. Within Hatoum’s case, I believe the connection of biography to creation is not only present, but also essential to thorough understanding, even though it may not be recognized or willingly acknowledged by the artist. Hatoum’s denial of the importance of biography within her works complicates communication of her experiences, ultimately limiting the possibilities for audiences to gain authentic cultural exchange.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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