Art 400: Yutavia’s Butterflies
Too often, art classes act in an “academic vacuum” said College of The Bahamas art instructor, John Cox. To give his advanced students experience in the local art world and to “breathe life into the art program” at The College of The Bahamas, he helps them plan and carry out site-specific art pieces.
The latest location is the new building at The College of The Bahamas, the state-of-the-art Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre – fitting since Harry C. Moore was a lifelong patron of the arts.
“I think a lot of people don’t know what a supporter of the arts he was and these pieces bring attention to it,” said Cox. “It presents a present and future effort to make the library a monument to contemporary visual expression.”
Over the next few weeks, Arts&Culture will be examining the installations in this library by his Art 400: Advanced Painting students.
Some things are often so tiny you miss them – but the installation by art education major Yutavia George on the glass wall of the computer center in the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Center has undeniable presence.
That’s because though each of the 150 tiny and intricate wire-and-bead butterfly sculptures come together to make up a charming glittering display. Just like their real-life counterparts, the tiny creations don’t reveal their true impressive beauty until the viewer investigates their complexity up close.
And impressive they should be – each butterfly took George 30-40 minutes to make. Add that up for 150 butterflies in total, and the time spent is mind-boggling.
“This piece branched off from two other pieces I was trying to do, and through the hardship of trying to create these pieces, it made me think of concept – how much time it takes for someone to come up with a brilliant idea,” she said.
“The piece itself was time consuming for a reason, so that whole process of getting the work done was actually fulfilling the concept of it. But I enjoyed it.”
Indeed to George, the piece, titled simply “Butterflies”, honors the labor of process. Such a piece is perfect for an academic library setting, reminding viewers of the hard work and ultimate payoff of sticking with a great idea.
“At the library, thought is encouraged,” said George. “I knew it had to be placed in the library and I thought that was wonderful – people sit and think in the library all the time, they spend hours in the library working on their ideas. So the butterflies for me really represent ideas and how long it takes for someone to come up with something so beautiful.”
Though you would think with the extensive process that already went into this piece, George would be celebrating her victory. But the ambitious artist who originally aimed for 200 butterflies wants to continue her labor of love and cover an entire wall with the tiny creations, becoming an inspiration for her commitment to process.
“The reason I chose butterflies is because I feel like ideas fly over your head, and you’re just trying to catch them like butterflies in a net,” she said.
“And when the sun hits them, they really shimmer, and the light behind the glass illuminates them, and it’s like the beauty of ideas. It has a presence for such little things.”
The Nassau Guardian
Arts & Culture
Published: Saturday, May 12, 2012