Move beyond the labels and comprehend


Photo by Will Nacouzi/ The Skyline View

Artist Kevin McKelvy talking to students and faculty during the lecture down in the gallery, building one.

Kevin McKelvy, a 57-year-old amateur artist spoke at the Skyline College Gallery about his original 16 piece ‘One Life’ series of artwork that depicts various men and women through history who have had an impact on the world, whether it was positive or negative.

The event was the first of The Center for Student Life Lecture Series for spring 2013.

These 16 pieces are paired by blending them together to create a sense of dualism within a three-dimensional image that forces the audiences to question themselves on their perspective and approach to the world around them.

The artworks are non-motorized ‘lenticular paintings’ because this same effect can be achieved by using motors to move the artwork rather than having the viewer walking around to change their perspective.

“Lincoln laid the foundation that would allow Obama to become the most powerful person in the world,” said Mckelvy, as he talked about the reason for his choice of Lincoln and Obama, blending them into one image.

It was for this reason that he chose Abraham Lincoln to pair with Obama, because both were responsible for setting a historical event in motion that altered and changed the nation. In Lincolns’ case, it was the Civil War that ended with the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments that terminated slavery in the US, widened the citizenships clause, introduced the due process and the equal protection clause and prohibited the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote. Obama made history when he was elected as the nation’s first African-American president; this was illustrated by the changes the nation has undergone since the end of the Civil War, 148 years ago.

Another example would be his controversial two-in-one image of Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr., both began their politician career on opposite ends. Hitler began his career as a successful and beloved politician by the German people only to end his career as the most hated human being in modern history. While Clergyman and Activist, Martin Luther King Jr. began his career with some controversy among this nation’s leadership, by the end of his career he was one of the most beloved and important figures of the Civil Rights Movement, especially with his ‘I have a dream speech’ on the afternoon of August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

This dualism of character and the fact that we as human beings never stay the same, as we change by acquiring new knowledge and experiences each day, and so these famous figures likewise changed during the course of their lifetime as their own experience shaped them into the historical figures we remember them as, whether it was for good or for ill.

As the lecture ended and the day moved on to a question and answer period, Mckelvy was willing to answer student’s question in regards to his artwork and the meaning to the audiences, which led to his mentioning that many of these historical figures, and in turn us, have done and carried out actions in the name of labels.

Whether the label is love, religion, shoes, honor, peace, freedom, war, or another reason that they might have, all of their actions were carried out in the name of one label or another.
For example you have Mother Teresa and Filipino political figure, Imelda R. Marcos, who owned over then 2000 pairs of shoes. Mother Teresa possessed a spiritual strength and belief in god while Marcos assessed her life’s value by the number of material objects and worldly possessions she accrued. In both cases these women approached the same issue of helping the poor from different directions.
“What could we do to make this college campus better, what could we do to make it more effective,” said Cariadus. “Kevin’s talk today might inspire both faculty and students with their own projects and in turn bring back it (the lessons learned) back to the campus to make the college a more exciting and beneficial place.”

The Call to Consciousness Lecture Series was designed to get students, faculty and members of the community to think about different subjects like education, politics, globalization, music and the arts by bringing in people who are experienced and knowledgeable in their field and allowing them a chance to speak here on campus.

Cariadus contacted McKelvy via email, while he was still in the Peace Museum in Dayton (Dayton, Ohio) after she researched and had time to study his ‘One Life: A Call to Consciousness’ work, where she was able to see that the very nature of his work would be enough to spark discussion and thought here on campus.

“I think that the people who were here got a lot of information out of the event, they also had an opportunity to see some art and talk to the artist about his creative process and learn how he developed these pieces, his own personal philosophy and to share in the discussion their own personal experiences and consciousness as well” said Coordinator Cariadus.

“I just really feel grateful that I was able to participate I learned a lot about consciousness. l was really moved” Skyline Stress Management student Maryann Hines said.

“I have to admit that I’m always amazed at Skyline College and the staff and all of us who do all these wild and crazy things and even though I’ve gone from full-time to part-time, we don’t stop” said professor Cushway, referring to her time as formal Director of the Dance Program.

Professor Cushway now teaches FITN 680SH Stress Management: Skills for Health here at Skyline College Dance Department.

There will be another Lecture Series event later this semester with American Ambassador to Fiji Frankie A. Reed however the date is not solid yet as The Center for Student Life is still currently trying to see when or if she will be available to visit and speak on campus.