Student Artists Capture Spirit of Black Lives Matter
March 08, 2021 Art
Sadat Art for Peace Competition winners announced.
As Black Lives Matter continues to shed light on anti-Black violence, racism and systemic inequalities in the United States, University of Maryland students are addressing these challenges in works of art that bespeak pain, contemplation and resilience.
Every year since 1998, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development and the Department of Art have jointly hosted the Sadat Art for Peace Competition, calling for submissions on a timely theme related to peace and reconciliation.
For this year’s competition, focusing on Black Lives Matter, 17 students in the Department of Art submitted works in 2D and 3D categories. Winners were selected by a distinguished committee of judges.
“In engaging social and political issues of the day, artists often provide powerful perspectives captured by their creative work,” said Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development. “After students reflected on the theme of Black Lives Matter, the resulting art and descriptions—especially the winning pieces—enhance our public conversation about compelling questions of our time.”
The winning pieces from this year are:
First Place: Nia Parks ’21, “Reclaimed”
Memorials to an incomplete emancipation swirl in the background while a white cop shoots in the foreground, his gun spewing “the looming shadow of history past, symbolized by the cyanotype of a singular cotton branch,” Parks said. She further explained that blood-red ink splatter marks the violence that continues to plague this country, while the branch is “broken as a gleam of hope that the bond of past horrors can be broken by tireless work of protest.”
Second Place: Randa Gahima ’22, “Organization & Mobilization 21”
Inspired by African culture and bearing a slogan, “All Power to the People,” from the Black Panther Party, Gahima’s acrylic painting on canvas carries a message of unity. “All the figures are close together and tight knit, symbolizing fighting racism not with racism but with solidarity and comradery,” Gahima says.
View more artwork in Maryland Today.
The 2021 judging committee included Professor Shibley Telhami; Yumi Hogan, first lady of Maryland; Sylvia Pines, first lady of the University of Maryland; Dana Priest, John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and Washington Post investigative reporter; Brandon Morse, chair of the Department of Art; Shannon Collis, associate professor and Honors Program director in the Department of Art; and Foon Sham, professor in the Department of Art.
"Intolerable," a sculpture by Daniel Merkowitz-Bustos '21, was one of 17 entries from Department of Art students in this year's Sadat Art for Peace Competition, which focused on Black Lives Matter. (Photo courtesy of the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development.)