MU intern Kat Cua curated the hall exhibit titled As I Am, the culminating project of her time at Sager Braudis. The exhibit features work by artists Laura Baran, Jarvis Boyland, Helen Hawley, and Simon Tatum, each of whom created portraits that document real-life individuals, most of whom the artist knows personally. Kat sought to use this exhibit as a way to combat the toxicity of the all-too-prevalent cultural norm of exceptionalism, reacting to the way it affects marginalized communities in particular. Exceptionalism deems people worthy and grants them visibility only when they are the most exceptional at whatever service they are able to provide, stripping individuals of the luxury to make mistakes and the comfort to be unremarkable. Exceptionalism only accounts for those who are the absolute best, failing to recognize that every human is worthy and valuable simply because they exist. Kat chose each of these portraits for its documentation of real people and its elevation of the everyday and celebration of the ordinary as opposed to the spectacular.
In Baran’s paintings for this exhibit, she celebrates the functionality and beauty of everyday people, revealing a narrative of inspiration in the ordinary.
As I Am on view at Sager Braudis Gallery in Columbia, MO through December 15, 2017.
Columbia Daily Tribune, Seeing the Light: Student curator brings fresh vision to Sager Braudis