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Five students selected for the twenty-third Delta Sigma-Delta Upsilon art competition

April 22, 2022

Amira Oguntoyinbo
PAINTING PERSONALITY Artwork hangs on the walls of the Lamarche Gallery. Many pieces are centered around a personal narrative of the past.

The twenty-third annual Delta Sigma-Delta Upsilon Art Show opened in Lamarche Gallery on Monday, showcasing a diverse range of artwork from Bowdoin students who participated in the competition hosted by The Delta Sigma Alumni Corporation. The five winners were Khalil Kilani ’25, Ereny Morcos ’24, Jilly Sher ’23, Aadhya Ramineni ’23 and Cheng Xing ’23.

Three judges with backgrounds in visual art selected the winners: Freeport-based photographer Jack Montgomery; ceramicist, encaustic painter and fiber artist Lonie Loffely Ellis from Brunswick; and Mary Bourke, a Maine-based abstract artist.

This is the first year that the art show accepted video submissions as a medium. Kilani’s winning piece, a video titled “Walk in My Shoes,” showcases a time lapse of him hand-painting on a pair of Nike Air Force Ones.

“I made a timeline from the start of my life, when I had the biggest moments,” Kilani said. “The first shoe is the part of my life before I came to Maine. That was a sadder one, and the other shoe is supposed to be a happier one.”

Kilani considers his piece an experimental exploration of his interest in cinematography, which captures the behind-the-scenes of the art process.

Sher also drew artistic inspiration from her lived experience. Her piece “Untitled” captures her relationship with her body.

“When I was in third grade, I was diagnosed with this syndrome that made one of my vertebrae get crushed,” Sher said. “It affected me for about a year, and I had to hold myself up with my arm around my back. That time was really important to me because I learned how to turn inward and take up hobbies like painting and drawing to occupy myself because I had to stop dancing.”

Sher also considered her recent experience of harassment at Bowdoin as she crafted the piece.

“The situation with my back healed itself, miraculously, and [years later] I was able to get support for my experience of harassment with Title IX at Bowdoin,” Sher said. “The painting was inspired by those moments of trauma, but also healing—finding parts of myself through those experiences, layering my appreciation for beauty and color, like self-love and self-confidence, on top of those topics.”

Strength and power are also central to Morcos’ piece titled “Black Woman Beauty,” a master study of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work.

“I really liked the way that [Yiadom-Boakye] portrays Black people, Black power, Black beauty and Black individuals, but she never has a purpose to what they are representing or what they’re thinking,” Morcos said. “When I was painting it, I created my own narrative from what that woman was feeling, holding, carrying as she was just staring. The first thing that came to mind was Black mothers and Black women—the amount of sacrifice, the amount of pain that they carry, to just be afraid to let their children walk in the streets, to be afraid to have their kids go to school, to be afraid for them even when they grow up.”

Morcos’ piece is intertwined with her passion for social justice and her contemplations on race and equality both on and off the Bowdoin campus.

“When you’re going to an art show, you’re expecting to see some beautiful things, and you run across one that depicts a Black man dying due to police brutality,” Morcos said. “It really makes you just stop and you’re like, ‘Not everything’s about me. There’s things going on in the world that are way bigger than me. There are things that are way more important.’ And that’s what I wanted my piece to do.”

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