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“Making Change” with multi-media

Zach+Sturgeon+%28%E2%80%9821%29+notes+symmetry+in+Gallery+Coordinator+David+Kamm%E2%80%99s+collage+%E2%80%9CTransforming+Blanket+Device%E2%80%9D+made+from+hate+literature.
Zach Sturgeon (‘21) notes symmetry in Gallery Coordinator David Kamm’s collage “Transforming Blanket Device” made from hate literature.

Zach Sturgeon (‘21) notes symmetry in Gallery Coordinator David Kamm’s collage “Transforming Blanket Device” made from hate literature.

Cara Keith (‘21) | Chips

Cara Keith (‘21) | Chips

Zach Sturgeon (‘21) notes symmetry in Gallery Coordinator David Kamm’s collage “Transforming Blanket Device” made from hate literature.

Cara Keith, Staff Writer

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Gallery Coordinator David Kamm’s art exhibit titled “Making Change” encourages visitors to enact small acts of change, especially considering the issue of gun violence and white supremacy. The exhibit opened in the Center for Faith and Life on March 6.

Kamm’s exhibit consists of two related bodies of work. One is a response to gun violence and consists of graphite drawings and mixed media pieces created specifically in response to the mass shooting that occurred in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The other body of work in Kamm’s exhibit is centered around transforming works of hate literature by white supremacist groups. This body of work uses fragments hate literature, such as “The White Man’s Bible” and “Rahowa” to create collages.

Kamm used a variety of materials to create art that directly relate to his subject matter.

“The materials really started to focus on the relationship of shell casings and crayons,” Kamm said. “They both have such strong symbolic associations and putting them together in one piece became the basis of the work. Whether I was creating mixed media pieces with actual shell casings or actual crayons, or using the shell casings to trace around the casings, these seemed to be directly related to the subject of the work.”

Kamm’s use of the shell casings caused attendee Bridget Carruth (‘21) to think more deeply about acts of hatred.

“I really liked the portion of the exhibit with the drawings made up of bullets,” Carruth said. “It really makes you stop and think about how different instances of hate can all stem from a similar place. I hope this exhibit will help start conversation among students about making change and getting at the root cause of acts of hatred.”

Kamm’s work correlates with the previous exhibit in the CFL titled “Hateful Things,” as well as Luther’s recent “Hope Over Hate” initiative to understand and practice diversity on campus.

A notable piece of mixed media in the exhibit is titled “End of the Rainbow.” This piece features a small wooden box with a Plexiglas cover where different colored crayons have been inserted into empty gun cartridge casings. This piece was a part of a national campaign against gun violence titled “Bearing Arms: Responding to Guns in American Culture.”

This piece of art especially struck faculty members when featured on this year’s gallery poster.

“The gallery poster was distributed to faculty and staff and some people didn’t want to hang it up,” Kamm said. “I learned from a colleague that the subject was just too tough and it reminded them of Sandy Hook. It’s not a fun subject matter for art, and some people simply don’t want to be reminded of it, which is perfectly legitimate. In this way, I suppose the art is doing its job by remembering the events and maybe prompts us to consider how these terrible things can happen and is there something we can collectively do about it so it doesn’t become routine.”

Typically, Kamm brings in other artists to feature at Luther and would not choose to feature himself.

Associate Professor of Art Ben Moore found importance in Kamm’s retirement in relation to his decision to feature his own work in the CFL.

“Generally when faculty have solo shows, it’s at the end of a sabbatical project or when there’s a pretty significant event, and David’s retirement is a pretty significant event,” Moore said. “It’s in the CFL gallery because it’s one of David’s favorite spaces. He’s been the gallery director for more than 20 years and he really liked the idea of having a show there.”

Kamm’s exhibit was displayed from March 6 to April 6. It is followed by photographer Diane Fox’s gallery titled “UnNatural History,” which will be on display in the CFL until May 27.

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