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Expressing Culture Through Art
Ruthie Spencer '22 Staff Writer
January 30, 2019

Deerfield is a place where students and visiting artists can uphold and portray their unique cultures. The School’s own theatre, dance, and studio art programs offer the opportunity for students here to explore where art and culture meet.

The rotating exhibits in the von Auersperg Gallery and the many performers brought to campus add another layer to the arts at Deerfield. The current exhibit in Deerfield’s von Auersperg Gallery, Cuba in Transition and the MLK day performance by Supaman, are prime examples of Deerfield celebrating the diversity and strength that comes from artists honoring their cultures.

Cuba in Transition is a series of photographic collages by Mark Guglielmo. For each piece, Guglielmo layered photographs on top of one another to create a whole image.

Credit: Britney Cheung
Mark Guglielmo’s exhibit Cuba in Transition will be on display in the Von Auersperg Gallery until Mar 13.

According to Coordinator of Educational Programs for the Gallery Mercedes Taylor, “They [students] can learn about the differences related to the same culture. You can connect with the images. [The exhibit] invites people to learn about Cuba.”

Putting a unique 3D twist on otherwise everyday activities, Guglielmo is clearly conveying his love for Cuba as well as the different lifestyles that, when combined, make for a rich and meaningful exhibition. Mark Guglielmo also chose to add music to accompany his art.

“I express how much I love Cuba. There is a lot of passion, joy, love, and human connection; at least for me.” Guglielmo said.

His artwork reflects just that, with each collage acting like a window into Cuban life. For example, during the exhibition the viewers can see a man who walks every day with hundreds of cans to be recycled and they visit an elementary school in Cuba. Guglielmo’s goal is to inspire people to go to Cuba, to give back to the people themselves and to uphold the rich and beautiful culture that he’s experienced. Ms. Hemphill, Director of the von Auersperg Gallery, added, “The [photographs] are completely unposed. You can see the scenes are an honest portrayal of Cuba.” Guglielmo concluded, “Art is powerful. Throughout time we have used visuals to tell a story, whether it’s dance, painting, or photography.”

Artistic mediums have a significant role in how an artist demonstrates their culture. Mark Guglielmo’s exhibit on Cuba gives the audience a visual representation of culture. Christian Parrish Takes The Gun, or more widely known as Supaman, is a hip-hop artist from the Crow Reservation in Montana. He uses traditional dance and modern music to share his culture.

According to Supaman, dance is a form of coming together and healing. Before his performance at Deerfield, he asked the audience to bow their heads while he led them in a prayer. Speaking in his native language, it was a moment for the audience to reflect, come together, and be grateful for one another. Supaman’s songs and dance clearly speak to the themes of honoring one’s heritage. Each of his songs carefully details a certain aspect of Native American culture and, in doing so, preserves it.

The murders and missing persons cases of indigenous native women, a recurring event since the 1970s, have become a pressing concern and issue today. Supaman creates video projects to go along with his music to further explain the meaning of his words to his culture. One of Supaman’s projects was to help further the awareness of the missing and murdered indigenous women, and has since gained 13 million views, succeeding in inspiring people to help the cause.

According to Ms. Young, Director of Inclusion and Community Life, “Supaman will educate the Deerfield community about social justice issues related to indigenous people living right here in our country.” Supaman used his art, his music and his dance to uphold and relay current important issues, as well as to demonstrate the traditional dance styles of his culture to modern viewers.

As a school with the responsibility to educate, Deerfield does not disappoint, giving students, faculty, and staff the tools and the opportunities to explore rich and diverse cultures. Through the arts, Deerfield teaches its students about the importance of upholding and respecting a variety of cultures.