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After-Effects: Beyong the Shadow of War
5 September - 20 December 2017

Linda Bond, Resident Scholar, WSRC Brandies University

Linda Bond’s artwork addresses the broad impact of war by exploring the conditions of violence from differing perspectives. Her installation deals with the result of armed conflict in the Middle East in which unmanned drones have come to replace combat troops as agents of war. In recent years she has expanded her studio practice into social action. “One to One” is a special project which involves collaboration with women who are attending literacy programs in Afghanistan, and “Forced to Flee” gives voice to a Syrian woman who left her home and is seeking asylum in the United States.


The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions
September -- December 16, 2016

The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions (, featuring the work of 24 artists from around the country, calls attention to the ongoing ancient rituals that kill or maim millions each year, yet are not considered crimes. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, October 4, from 5-8 p.m. featuring the exhibition's curator, executive producer and artist Richard Laurent. Admission to the reception and exhibit is free and open to the public.

“Breaking Criminal Traditions utilizes high-quality fine art to educate and raise awareness of human rights issues worldwide and encourages rich and interdisciplinary dialogue,” said Neil Tetkowski, Director of University Galleries. “In keeping with the efforts of the Human Rights Institute to raise awareness of and inspire action against injustice, we hope these artworks will serve as a vehicle for social change so that all people, everywhere, will be granted universal human rights."

This provocative yet engaging exhibition debuted in 2013 at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and brought shadowy topics including honor killing, child marriage and acid violence directly into public consciousness and into public debate. The exhibit continues to expand and evolve, with a unique presentation designed specifically for Kean’s Human Rights Institute Gallery.

Curator Chuck Gniech chose approximately 50 “intriguing” pieces of fine art in a variety of mediums. “Conscious of the human rights issues outlined by the exhibition’s executive producer, Cheryl Jefferson, each art piece alludes to the issues at hand, but the meaning is ultimately defined by the viewer,” he said.

Jefferson, a participant in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, noted that the global reach of these complex human behaviors extends to the United States. “The exhibit allows us to take the first step toward change and to support the legal evolution that can only come from within other cultures and our own,” she said.

 "Silent Witness" by James Deeb (30” x 22” monotype) is one of more than 50 works that appear in The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions exhibition at the Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University that call attention to the ancient rituals that continue to destroy millions each year yet are not considered crimes. “Silent Witness” was originally developed from the artist’s interest in medical and dental x-rays but, Deeb explains, “After I finished it [Silent Witnesses] and the other pieces in the series, I realized that they were less about human interaction with medical technology and more about taboo subjects often left unspoken. Speaking out against these crimes almost always leads to violent reprisals. The victims’ coerced silence helps give these ‘traditions and their perpetrators an air of normalcy that allows the vicious cycle to continue.”

Richard Laurent’s “Arcadia” at Kean University Richard Laurent’s “Arcadia” is one of more than 50 works that appear in The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions exhibition at the Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University that call attention to the ancient rituals that continue to destroy millions each year yet are not considered crimes. According to curator Chuck Gniech, “Arcadia” is “a surreal composition of a faceless female figure amongst a strangely beautiful landscape. The painting—filled with subtle surprises—highlights a monumental mask as the point of focus. The mask rests gently against a patterned mountain range—that upon closer inspection—appears to be the haunches of an animal. The eyes of the mask, stare blankly off into space… providing a sense of loss or disillusion.” Laurent explains that “The image references an ancient social idea where women are considered feral and by ancient logic... dangerous. She exists only as a mask. Her dream is to be transformed from an empty vessel, into a moral—if not empowered—human being. The title points to a personal outcome without limits.”


I Learn America
Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion

January 31- May 12, 2017 

Students and teachers invite viewers to enter their inner worlds and engage with their personal stories through the images they make. Inspired by the I Learn America documentary and initiative, these novice and accomplished creators seek to foster community conversations that raise public awareness, break down stereotypes and celebrate diversity. Opening Reception with the Artists Tuesday, January 31, from 5-8 p.m. Admission to the opening reception and exhibition are free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail or call (908) 737-4670.

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