By Elizabeth Hartmann | Echo
Look and you will see the innocent, pleading eyes of children looking for love.
Their voices speak through the artwork submitted to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) art contest which will be on display in the Larita Boren Campus Center until the end of today.
Scott Moeschberger, professor of psychology and director of vulnerable and orphaned children, explained this contest was a student-lead idea aimed at raising awareness and encouraging discussion among the campus community on issues facing vulnerable children worldwide.
"I think that the arts are often underused in Christian communities to influence the Church and the ways in which the Church thinks about communing with the hurting world around it, and yet the arts are so capable of deeply moving Christians to respond to God's call," junior Erica Bell said. "The arts help us consider deeply His call to redeem the hurting parts of our world in ways that stir parts of our brains and hearts that might otherwise lie dormant."
Bell's work "The Death of Beauty" won first prize in the contest. It is a 10-foot print made during an especially tense time during the Syrian War. It commemorates all the beauty destroyed and the suffering of Syrian families during the civil war.
The haunting piece is meant to inspire lamentation in the hearts of the viewers as their eyes move across the forms that seem to wilt into an inevitable death.
Senior Abigail Roth's piece "Tagged" won second place. Roth explained the main series of pieces she submitted were focused on the eyes of people of all ages and ethnicities. The inspiration behind this was the idea that the eyes are the window to the soul.
Roth believes the first step to solving many of the OVC issues in our world is to look at people.
"Just because you cannot see something in someone does not mean it is not there," Roth said.
Roth hopes her artwork will encourage people to look past the surface of others and see them for who they truly are.
Freshman Hollie Meyers entered because she believes the OVC contest is a necessary, original art show. She entered because there is hope in OVC, a hope that brings children out of the background and projects them into a new life.
Giving people a new life starts with a shift in perspective. Roth encourages people to look at other people, listen to them and hear their stories.
"With these issues, we often have a tendency to want to fix or solve them, rather than learning and listening," Roth said. "We want quick solutions over long-term engagement and costly relationship."
This art contest was also meant to be an educational experience both for the students submitting artwork and for those viewing it. Sophomore Clarisa Paschall said it is a way to celebrate the start of this new department and major.
Moeschberger hopes that through the power of artistic expression these children's voices can be heard in a way that communicates both dignity and truth.
"I hope the artwork causes them to lament the injustices exhibited, to rejoice in the hope exhibited and to pray for the nations represented in the various pieces," Bell said. "Ultimately, I hope the artwork acts as a launching pad for further prayer, thought and discussion on the plight of orphans and vulnerable children on our campus."