Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014
AFP 2014: Visual Arts
The Anne Frank Project presents two incredible art exhibits during AFP 2014:
I Am Poor, I Am Hungry, by James A. Allen
September 8–12, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
The existential and humanistic issues of poverty and hunger are reflected in the series I Am Poor, I Am Hungry by James A. Allen. His shaped cutout forms are mounted as ensembles; the human figure is allowed to communicate a condition of life through the power of gesture and expression and the formal qualities of the surface. The white of the gallery walls serves as a timeless, generalized place in which the narrative of the piece unfolds. Allen uses the artist’s tools of form, color, and texture to create striking human presences whose surfaces convey a sense of transience, mutability, and vulnerability. Yet, there is a certain edginess that suggests the impossibility of fully understanding their situation, their story, although the viewer is, at the same time, fully immersed in their lives. Had Anne Frank lived, she certainly would be a champion of the voiceless, especially the social injustice implied powerfully by the stories that Allen's figures tell so well.
Spirit of Life Tree, by Valeria Cray-Dihaan
September 8–12, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Margaret E. Bacon Student Gallery
On the corner of High and Ellicott streets, near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, rises an 8-foot Corten steel "tree" from its concrete pedestal. Commissioned by the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, it is the first of many permanent public art pieces designed to tell the story of Buffalo. The artist, Valeria Cray-Dihaan, says, "The tree is called the Spirit of Life, and I think it's also about healing, because of where it is. People come here to be healed, and I hope this sculpture can give them a sense of that while they are here." Cray-Dihaan's story makes it clear that a great deal of positive energy went into its creation, as this monumental sculpture is a departure in scale for her, requiring new research, learning, and sacrifice. The relationship of the material itself with Buffalo's story as an old steel town is evident as is the relationship to the chestnut tree that stood outside Anne Frankʼs hiding place, both serving as a source of hope. Anne Frank wrote on February 23, 1944, “From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver.”