Welcome Back

By Laura Ilioaei ’23, October 5, 2021
Handwerker Gallery opens for in-person visits of fresh exhibits.

This fall, after more than a year, the Handwerker Gallery reopened for larger public audiences. The reopening event this September was attended by nearly 150 people, and highlighted the work of two IC faculty members, assistant professor of art Paloma Barhaugh-Bordas and assistant professor of media arts, sciences, and studies Lali Khalid, whose work will remain on display until October 13.

More to Come

The Handwerker will feature other artists as well as guest speakers throughout the semester. More details, and a schedule, are available on the Handwerker’s website.

After only being accessible virtually in the Fall 2020 semester, followed by a spring semester where the number of in-person guests were limited, the ability to welcome larger crowds to the Gallery is a welcome change.

Barhaugh-Bordas’s exhibit, Thicker Than Forget, urges people to be more than just spectators of nature, and to strive to feel more connected with it. It’s an experience that can have a greater impact when viewed in person, particularly given the amount of natural beauty in Ithaca and the surrounding area.

“Seeing art in person is an entirely different experience than viewing it online. I hope that students go to the gallery and go often. I am happy to have walked through the exhibition with a few classes, explaining my processes and reasoning for making the visual choices I did.”

Assistant professor of art Paloma Barhaugh-Bordas

Barhaugh-Bordas said that she was honored to work with Baldwin and the Handwerker to have her work featured in the reopening.

“Seeing art in person is an entirely different experience than viewing it online,” she said. “I hope that students go to the gallery and go often. I am happy to have walked through the exhibition with a few classes, explaining my processes and reasoning for making the visual choices I did.”

Khalid’s exhibit, First Light, the Skylarks Sing is a photographic inquiry into the perceptions of Muslims and their diaspora, particularly post 9/11. It is an ongoing project, birthed from a need to address naivete and assumptions made stemming from stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community.

A photo from Lali Khalid's exhibit

Lali Khalid is glad that in-person crowds have been able to foster dialogue and discussion.

Khalid said that the project is meant to start a dialogue and discussion, and that’s something that the in-person crowds, particularly class visits, have been able to foster.

I believe that students are benefitting from the work and starting new discourses,” she said. “At the artist talk, we had to set up extra seats as more students than expected showed up. There was also an extended Q&A which lasted for 30 minutes. Students were engaged and moved by the work and that meant the world to me.

In speaking with some of the students, particularly international students, it became evident that the work resonated with immigrants from all over,” Khalid added. “My hope is that when students see the images, something is stirred inside of them and they have this desire to get to know a certain culture, certain people more, or be more tolerant, more accepting, or more understanding of some of the difficulties an outsider feels.”

Khalid was also positive about having her work featured in the reopening.

“For an artist, one of the hardest things about COVID was the inability to see art in person,” she said. “I believe all of us were desperately waiting for things to go back to somewhat normal. To be able to share my work with the Handwerker Gallery has been magnificent. Seeing assertive, compelling physical prints on the walls, instead of the computer screen, is truly rewarding.”

In fact, much of the Handwerker’s appeal lies in its accessibility. “I really like the space specifically because it’s so intimate. I feel like I really get to be a part of the exhibition space,” said gallery monitor Eibhilin O’Reilley ’22.