StArt gallery showcases student artwork

The annual StArt exhibit showcases artwork from a diverse swath of students


“Grip of the Past/Silenced” (pictured above), a piece of protest art by freshman Sofia Trujillo, is on display this week and next in Reynolda Village as part of the StArt Gallery.

Christa Dutton, Staff Writer

“Let it Show!” is the annual holiday student art exhibit at the stArt gallery located in Reynolda Village. The gallery features art created by Wake Forest students and allows students to gain experience in the visual arts market by giving them a space to professionally showcase and sell their work. Submissions were welcomed from all Wake Forest students, regardless of their major or year.

The gallery contains a wide range of artistic media, including photography, paintings, sketches and sculptures. Some of the featured artists shared what kind of statement or story their piece communicates. 

Sophomore Emily Clark created a sculpture that spoke to exploitative labor and poverty. Her inspiration for the work began with a bag of chocolate.

“My friends and I were studying at a table outside of Shorty’s eating Dove chocolates,” Clark said. “And we were laughing at how the inside of the wrappers had funny little quotes inside of them. Like, ‘There’s always a rainbow at the end of the storm’ or ‘You look beautiful’ or just other funny inspirational quotes like that. We just thought that was so silly.”

Their laughter soon gave way to inspiration. Clark had just been assigned a project for an art history class in which she had to create a piece of art that was historically based. While snacking on the chocolates, she remembered some disturbing facts she had recently learned about the chocolate industry.

“I had just learned about the exploitative history of the chocolate industry,” Clark said.

She continued: “A lot of cacao farmers are horribly mistreated and never even get to taste the cacao beans they tirelessly harvest. I found it interesting that a chocolate company could treat people like that but then write happy-go-lucky quotes inside of their wrappers.”

She immediately got to work hot gluing Dove chocolate wrappers to bent concrete wire in a tapestry-like pattern. She titled the piece “Bitter Aftertaste”.

“Having the ability to turn my art into the art show and have it be accepted showed me that it was worthy of being shown to other people,” Clark said.

Sophomore Claire Falletta submitted a photograph that told a personal story of familial love and balance. Her work is a self-portrait she created for an art class she took as a freshman. She was enduring many changes in her life at the time, and she wanted to create a piece that communicated how the people in her life provided her with balance during a time that was anything but balanced. The photograph is of her with the hands of different friends and family members touching her. She titled her piece “Equilibrium”.

“All these hands represent something different,” Falletta said. “They are the hands that helped me grow up and made me who I am.”

She continued: “Without all of these people, and without all of these good and bad parts of life, one would not have equilibrium.”

Freshman Sofia Trujillo submitted a sculpture installation piece entitled “Grip of the Past / Silenced” that makes a statement about feminism and sexual assault. The piece contains three distinct layers: the canvas, the painting and the photographs. Each piece communicates and sexual assault survivors.

Her inspiration came partly from the student protest that occurred on Aug. 28 and also the ongoing #MeToo movement. Through knowing survivors of sexual assault and listening to their stories, Trujillo noticed that survivors often put up a façade and pretend everything is okay even when it is not. She wanted to capture that in her art and explore why women often feel they cannot speak out.

Trujillo said this is a piece she has wanted to create for a long time and is glad she was finally able to accomplish it.

“Since I had the resources, I decided to do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is create a big installation that makes people a little uncomfortable. It is loud, it draws attention and it has a poignant message that is relevant to our contemporary era,” Trujillo said. “It’s this massive story.”

The gallery contains many more pieces of art from a diverse group of Wake Forest student artists, some of which are for sale. The exhibit will be open until Dec. 11.