McGinley Art Show: “New Beginnings”

Some of the artists focused on documenting spaces within the home (Courtesy of Instagram).

Some of the artists focused on documenting spaces within the home (Courtesy of Instagram).

On Feb. 11, the USG’s Student Experience Committee hosted the annual McGinley Art Show in the new campus center, where they showcased student artwork that revolved around the theme of “New Beginnings.” The artwork on display ranged from photographs of the New York City skyline to sculpted plates of food, showing the diverse talents that Fordham students possess. 

As @fordhamusg’s Instagram post attests, the theme “New Beginnings” is drawn from the dawn of a new year, which promises hope as we shake off the isolation and loneliness of the past two years. “We definitely wanted a space where artists could show how COVID-19 has really affected them and what they’ve observed in the world. With ‘New Beginnings,’ we’re hoping for it to be hopeful and optimistic for the new beginnings we’ll have after COVID-19,” said Kiri Kenman, FCRH’ 25, a member of the Student Experience Committee who helped run this year’s show.

The art hung throughout the gallery was accompanied by short captions, written by the artists themselves to explain the importance of their work. Some focused on the impact that COVID-19 had on their perception of the world. Adriana Foster, FCRH’ 24,  one of the featured artists, submitted a photo of a cruise ship blurred by the flare of its own lights. “COVID has proven to distort the ways people look and think of things, and this photo shows how something as simple as a cruise ship can be warped,” she wrote. 

Other artists focused on more intimate moments of their lives, exploring how one can discover a new beginning in a setting as personal as the dinner table. 

Lu Aubin, FCLC ’22, submitted work which featured two photographs: the first, a black-and-white picture of the exterior of an old house and the second, an in-color photograph of a messy, intimate kitchen table. “My photos are moments of my life. They are exteriors I see myself in, and the interiors I have learned to love … [they] are the evidence of change in my life: honesty with myself and greater compassion with others,” explained Aubin.

The McGinley Art Show exhibited student artwork exploring life after COVID-19 (Courtesy of Instagram).

Mateo Solis Prada, FCLC ’22, transformed his sculptures of empanadas, choripan and patitas into vessels for connections between family and friends, something that greatly suffered during isolation periods prompted by COVID-19. “I wanted to make these special foods for myself and my friends, but I didn’t want to just end there. I wanted to continue to share this dish with everybody and hopefully introduce them to a cuisine or food that they otherwise wouldn’t consider,” Prada explained in an interview. “[Gastronomia is] how we sustain ourselves, but more importantly, it’s how we share ourselves.”

Both Aubin and Prada found new beginnings in domesticity, which proved the most volatile sphere of our lives throughout the pandemic. The interior of the home became an office, classroom and site of worship as the pandemic, and fear of it, trapped people indoors. No other room in the house embodied this more than the kitchen, which had always held importance as the place where food is made and connection fostered. It is fitting then, that both artists found meaning there during a time when relationships between family, friends and significant others faltered due to the strain of isolation. With COVID-19 abating and life from before the pandemic resuming, it seems that the answer to how we come back together as a community lies in the kitchen and on the dining room table.

While the McGinley Art Show is an annual event, this year’s return to in-person classes and rebirth of campus life lent the event much more weight. “It’s so nice to be able to see the faces and names of the actual artists that worked to submit the pieces … It definitely rounds out the theme to really, fully mean ‘new beginnings’ by being able to have those people in person to talk about the work they created,” explained Elizabeth Vernon, GSB ’22, head of USG’s Student Experience Committee.

If you missed the art show, don’t fear. The artwork is still displayed in the second story hallway of the new campus center, christening the newest addition to campus with the student culture that Fordham artists have created. See the artwork, and from it gain insight on how you can launch your own new beginning.