4th Report - Arrival in Bariloche

The Trip so far

The Trip so far

On Friday we started the day off bright and early waking up at 8:00 for a quick breakfast, so we could depart on time at 8:30. We then had a three hour drive to the bus station that would take us to Bariloche. When we arrived in Osorno we had time for a quick lunch which grabbed at a Chilean fast food restaurant. We all got Chilean hot dogs. We then proceeded to rush back to the station to be sure we didn't miss our bus. We boarded the bus after saying goodbye to Mr. Ortiz and Megan, and then we were off to Argentina! After about two hours into the trip we arrived at the Chile and Argentina border where we went through customs without a problem. We then had another two hours until we would arrive in Bariloche. When the bus pulled into the station, all of the of our host families were waiting for us and immediately greeted us when we stepped off the bus. We then got our suitcases and went our separate ways with each of our host families.

2nd Report from Argentina-Chile

Tuesday morning, we all came down to breakfast by 9:00am. Many of us made fried eggs for breakfast, we had freshly baked bread, and raspberry and nut “kuchen” which is a german cake/tart.  After breakfast, we made ourselves sandwiches to bring with us on the hike. We filled up our water bottles before getting in the cars.

Half an hour later we arrived at the National Park (after of course many pictures of the beautiful view along the way). We grabbed our gear and began our trip up the Sierra Nevada trail which is a 14km out and back hike. Some of us hurried excitedly up the trail while others wandered behind in awe at the environment. The trail was surrounded with vegetation similar to both the jungle and the forests of Dublin with lizards that would scamper across the trails in front of our feet. We learned about a foreign tree that grows only in Chile called the Araucaria. About halfway up the trail was an overlook of a beautiful lake that had crystal blue water and made you want to stare at it forever. We continued up the trail and discovered the trail narrowing to the side of a cliff. We carefully ventured across while gazing at the towering mountains next to us and listening to the glacier waterfalls in the distance.  

Eventually (a whole three hours later) we made it to the top and ate lunch gazing at the magnificent view, wishing we could stay there forever. Reluctantly we headed back down after refilling our water bottles with crystal clear and clean glacier water. The walk back went much quicker than the walk up taking only an hour and a half.

Once we got down, we went to the perfect blue lake and excitedly walked in the chilly water and on the lava sand beach as we looked up at the volcano and the mountains we just explored. We made it back to the house tired and hungry. We played some rounds of Uno before we had an amazing dinner of steak, corn, rice, potato salad, and bread.   We also tried the nuts from the Araucaria tree we collected on the hike.  They are similar to chestnuts.

After that, we cleaned up and collapsed into bed tired from the adventure that the day had brought. It was a very hard hike and was less enjoyable during the hike but reflecting back I’m very glad I did it and would have been disappointed if I had missed the experience. 

1st Report from Argentina-Chile

After we all met up at the entrance of the airport, we checked our bags and moved through security. We went to our gate and got dinner. We soon boarded our plane to Atlanta. After the short plane ride, we arrived at the Atlanta airport and boarded our plane to Santiago, Chile almost immediately. After boarding we got comfortable in the seats we would sit in for the next 9 hours. We were served a nice dinner, and had access to many movies to watch. After a VERY long and exhausting flight with sporadic turbulence, we arrived in Santiago and got our luggage and stood in line to get our passports stamped. Then we checked our luggage again. Our layover in Santiago was long but it was relaxing. We went to a restaurant in the airport and got sandwiches. They were really good. We split up and all got to walk around the airport. After a while we congregated and boarded the airplane to Temuco, which is a little farther south of Santiago. This flight was a piece of cake as it was only an hour.

Once we arrived in the small airport in Temuco, we finally got our luggage and sat a for a while as we got our rental cars. Some of us got bored and ran around outside the entrance to the airport. There was grass and it was green! The air was warm and the sky was blue! Once we got our cars (a van and pickup truck) we hopped inside and drove for about two hours to The Conguillio National Park. After the relaxing car ride, we arrived at our gorgeous house that we would be staying at for the next two days. We ran around with excitement exploring every part of the property. There is a pond, horses, a stream, fields, a pool, and a staircase to the roof! Mr. Ortiz’s parents were there to greet us and had started to prepare dinner that they were making for us! Neither of them speak a lick of English so we put our Spanish skills to work.

We heard that behind the house there was a path to a river. So many of us (including Mr. Pierpont eager to catch a fish) followed a path far into the woods. We followed little signs to a cute little stream with a bridge over it, and most of us assumed that was it. But I, Caitlin, knew that there must be more. I decided that I would continue to walk up this mysterious road, after a bit, the others began to follow curiously. Soon we found another sign that continued to point forward down the road saying “cascada”. I knew it! As we walked along the road we heard the faint sound of running water. We followed the path and the sound became much louder. We looked to our right and noticed we were on a cliff, far below us was a large river with huge rocks. Excited, we skipped down the path to the river.  We explored the river, it resembled a rocky river like the ones back in New Hampshire, we followed the trail along the river which led to a small waterfall. Meanwhile, Mr. Pierpont had begun to fly-fish in the river. We admired the waterfall and began to play in the river. He caught one! Mr. Pierpont caught a little trout on the first day. We just got here!

After tiring our selves out we hustled back to the house for dinner. We all sat down at the dinner table and ate a beautiful and tasty dinner of grilled chicken, rice, sausage, and bread. We all showered and got ready for bed. We were very tired for obvious reasons. Some of us finished the night by watching a movie and then went to sleep. Spoiler alert, we all got a great nights sleep. Tomorrow we would be hiking a mountain.

We say a sad farewell to our Bariloche visitors

After three weeks of adventure, our visitors from our sister schools in Bariloche, Argentina will be heading home on Saturday. Before they left, we sat down and talked with Maria and Mateo about their experiences in Dublin and the US.

Mateo and Maria

Mateo and Maria

Asked about the thing that most surprised them, they both agreed that they were surprised by how busy everyone at Dublin is. They were amazed that students at Dublin have as much to do in any day and that they seem to thrive on the routine. "Frankly, I was a little exhausted... and surprised. I was not prepared to be so tired. Day time is much shorter here, and that may be part of it, but so much more is expected..."

At the same time, they both agreed that Dublin students have more independence in what they choose to study and seem to have more fun in their work. Both were amazed at the variety of options and the range of resources available to students. They agreed that the beauty and accessibility of the landscape was a surprise - Maria loved Nordic skiing in the woods at the end of classes every day.

Asked what they missed from home, they were quick to respond - "our food." Maria said that she was just not used to eating at the times that Americans eat - in Argentina, they eat later in the afternoon and then at 9:30-10:30 at night. Mateo responded that they eat a lot more red meat in their diet. While neither disliked what was available, it just wasn't home.

Reflecting upon their time here, Maria said, "I didn't expect that the students would really want to host me and have me be part of things. I really loved the dorm experience. It was like a big happy family. Particularly on Milk and Cookies night..."

Award Winning Poet John Hodgen to visit Dublin - February 11-13

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by Henry Walters

This week we will be hosting a writer named John Hodgen for three days, Monday-Wednesday. You'll recognize him by his baseball cap and a slightly bowlegged way of walking, as if he had just dismounted from a long ride on horseback. 

As I tried to say this morning, it's not his personality or his private experiences that have led the English Department to invite him here, but something peculiar and jaw-dropping that he does with language: the ability to gather all the ribbons off a clothesline simultaneously while sledding underneath it at top speed. The ribbons of beauty, the ribbons of history, the ribbons of grief, of delight, of absurdity, of love: all of them at once! He has very large hands. 

John Hodgen lives in Shrewsbury, MA. He is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Assumption College, and also teaches at Mount Wachusett Community College and the Worcester Art Museum. He is the author of Heaven & Earth Holding Company, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010, Grace, (winner of the 2005 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry), In My Father's House (winner of the 1993 Bluestem Award from Emporia State University in Kansas), and Bread Without Sorrow (2001, winner of the 2002 Balcones Poetry Prize) He has won the Grolier Prize for Poetry, an Arvon Foundation Award, the Yankee Magazine Award for Poetry, first prize in the Red Brick Review poetry competition, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist Award in Poetry in 2000. He won the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize for the best poems published in Beloit Poetry Journal in 2008.

Several of his poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, and he was one of five finalists in the Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowship Program. He was a finalist in Houghton Mifflin's New Poetry Series, Cleveland State University's Poetry Center Prize, Carnegie Mellon University's Poetry Series, and Northeastern University's Samuel French Morse Poetry Award. John's work has been included in the anthologies Witness and Wait: Thirteen Poets From New England and Something Understood ; We Teach Them All: Teachers Writing About Diversity; and Bone Cages.

The purpose of his visit is to bring a new perspective to the reading and writing that you are already doing: why you are doing it, what it's worth, and how you might make it even more meaningful, both to yourself and to others. 

Copies of poems by John Hodgen will be left in your mailboxes this afternoon and on the radiator in the hallway of the lower FAB. You can also find poems he has written here.

And listed below are a few times during his visit when you might meet with John, ask him questions, show him a piece of your writing, or chew over your own ideas with him:

Monday

11:30 - 12:00 Lunch 
6:00 - 6:45  Dinner
7:00 - 9:00 Tea at Writer's Cabin

Tuesday

8:30 - 10:00  Library "office hours"
11:30 - 12:00  Lunch

Wednesday

6:30 - 7:30  CLOSING READING (Putnam Art Gallery)

Your English teachers hope that the spark he brings to campus will keep smoldering in your own reading and writing, long after he leaves

Black History Month Art Show - Curated by Earl Schofield

In honor of Black History Month, Dublin art instructor and resident fine artist Earl Schofield has put together an art show of African American artists. The show is in The Lehmann Dining Room where it can be studied and enjoyed.

A Statement by Show Curator Earl Schoefield

Quick, name a famous African American Artist. Can you do it? Can you name three? How about a famous African American athlete, dancer, actor, writer or musician? If you asked me to do this, I could do it, but it would take me a minute, and I spent my life studying art. It would take me no time at all to name famous actors, athletes, dancers, writers or musicians and I'll bet it would be for you too. Why?

Well, we might start with who holds the keys to the museums, still mostly white men. I mean the National African American Museum of History and Culture just opened three years ago and is home to the only permanent exhibit of African American Art on the Smithsonian Mall. Africans were first recorded as arriving in British North America in 1619. So what's the deal?

I have a theory, hang on everyone, some white guy has a theory. Here it is, tell me what you think. You can't take paintings with you. Well, that's the basic seed of the idea anyway. "The African American Experience," has been one riddled with displacement and transience. Nobody ever asked an African to pack a bag before slapping shackles on them and stuffing them into a ship. Once in America, a slave's possessions were negligible to say the least. Families were regularly sold apart from one another. When you can't depend on knowing your wife or children won't be taken away from you at a whim, you aren't worried about your "stuff." What you CAN take with you, is knowledge. You can continue crafts in an African tradition; weaving, pottery, carpentry, and more importantly, you can carry stories and songs with you no matter where you go.

There is another important factor. Quick, name a famous White American Painter that lived before 1800. There were a couple but most of you never heard of them, and honestly, they weren't so hot. American Visual Arts were laughable by European standards, and they let us know it too. It isn't until the late 19th century that America begins producing any famous white artists, and then, they are mostly working in an older European style. It isn't until the 1950's that America excels in the global art world.

African Americans had and still have, a visual culture that has had enormous influence, but it has largely not taken shape as visual art. It exists in a folk art tradition, in weaving, crafts, definitely in various fashion trends, but the general American poverty of fine artists, combined with a people disrupted by slavery, and post-emancipation emigrations, and kept from moving into the middle class by systemic racist policies, means it isn't until the Harlem Renaissance that we begin to see African American artists in numbers. And then "renaissance" isn't even the right term, because it is really a birth, not a re-birth for Africa American artists. It is no coincidence that these artists emerge at the same time that Jazz was entering the American mainstream. Jazz is an art form that developed almost exclusively from African Americans and that many consider the ONLY original art form to have ever been developed in America.

When I look at this work as a whole, a few things emerge. First, I notice that the art breaks into three groups; African Americans working strictly within a European or formalist artistic tradition, African Americans working with European artistic traditions but using African American subjects, and finally, African Americans trying to develop an original African American art form, the way that Jazz did in music.

The body of work in this show is strictly African American, but there are two ways that this art interacts with African art. It is likely that there were generations of African Americans who were utterly without any contact with or influence of, African Art, but eventually, some artists sought to reconnect with that lost heritage, some going so far as to travel to Africa themselves. The second way this art interacts with African art is weirdly ironic because, in the early twentieth century, European art was being hugely influenced directly by African art without being credited. To give you the short version, Picasso had seen and even purchased illegally, some African sculptures and almost directly copied their style which led to the emergence of cubism and various forms of modernism that utilized simplification, exaggeration, arbitrary color, and flat surfaces. This "European" art, born out of African art, then went on to dominate the international art world, and eventually, African Americans emulated these influences too. Essentially, art stolen from Africa by Europeans, copying the artwork of their captors, that is, in fact, also stolen from Africa.


Artist work and discussion by Earl Schofield.

Joshua Johnson who was a freed slave and Robert Seldon Duncanson are artists working completely within a European tradition, or more correctly, working within the American tradition of doing a poor job of trying to work within the European tradition. There would have been precious few African American people with the money to commission portraits of themselves, so it is no wonder these two artists work is indistinguishable from other white painters of the time.

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Our next painter, Henry Ossawa Tanner, who is one of my favorite painters, by the way, was working a full hundred years after Johnson and Duncanson. Tanner's career is complicated. Throughout it, he produces fine examples of impressionism influenced realism, but for a while, he focuses on images of African Americans, and he gives voice to their experience. These are the images many find to be his most important work, but Tanner emigrated to France, settling in Paris, to avoid the racism of his time. He largely abandons this work in favor of exclusively Christian themed work in a more modern iteration of Europe's traditional painters.

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Aaron Douglass is by far the most famous of the first wave of Harlem Renaissance visual artists. Douglas was one of the first to try and develop an "African American art," an art he defined as having an "earthy spirituality." Not only does his work achieve this goal, but this quality remains a key element of black American artists, visually, musically and in literature to this day. Douglass's work stands out from his peers as unique in style, but clear influences of the international style still pervade it. Socialist realism can be seen in much of the art of this time, from the Americans Charles Sheeler and Edward Hopper to the Mexican Diego Rivera to the ubiquitous Soviet murals.

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The artwork of Horace Pippin, however, is one hundred percent within the tradition of American Primitive painting whose best known modern example is Grandma Moses, a contemporary of Pippin. While Moses's work is filled with nostalgia, however, Pippin's work is not, describing everything from the Spartan conditions of rural black life, contemporary casual urban moments, historical paintings, images from his experience fighting in World War I and even religious themes. For me, Pippin may be the most exciting artist in this group for the uniqueness of his vision, the stunning breadth of subjects and what feels to me, to be an art that is very, American in nature.

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Coming a generation after Pippin is Charles White. This is the work that best expresses the trans-global influences of Africa I described earlier. Here we have an African American subject, depicted by an African American artist, in a manner that is derivative of the international cubist, expressionist and Social realist movements of Europe, which were themselves developed out of African Sculpture.

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Bob Thompson's "Tree" is another strange animal, based on two compositions by the Spanish artist, Franceso Goya, this work contains some vaguely Africanized faces in a vaguely African palette but in a style heavily influenced by Matisse. Thompson built a career mining European art in a strangely satisfying reversal of appropriation.

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Jacob Lawrence came out of the second wave of Harlem Renaissance artists. He was one of the first artists to be trained in an art school run for and by African Americans. Lawrence's work is a unique blending of cubism and social realism, mixed with his own palette into what is probably the style most closely related to Jazz and a uniquely "African American" visual art form. Jacob Lawrence is by far the most famous artist we have seen so far and is credited for having, "broken the color barrier" into the "mainstream" (White) art world. Lawrence depicts black American experiences in a "black" painting style. Lawrence is best known for his work depicting specifically African American history and African American historical figures.

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I am not a fan of collage. Which is strange because I grew up with a mother who was a chronic quilter. Today every member of her extended family sleeps under a quilt made by my mother. I am also a huge fan of the quilt art from the now famous African American community of Gees Bend which will be discussed later. However, I find Romare Beardon's collages to be such a fitting extension of American Primitivism, the quilt making tradition, and cubism as to be impossible not to appreciate. This work resonates with rural American folk traditions and continues the ubiquitous theme of travel, migration, and transience that permeates African American history.

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Barcley Hendricks's work forms the 1970's runs against mainstream art's domination by high modernist abstraction and conceptual art. Along with Phillip Perlman and Chuck Close, Hendricks works in a realist style, but his imagery embraces the Black cultural renaissance of the '70s. There were the zoot suits of the '20s and '30s, the suit coats of the '50s Jazz players, a chaos of styles in the '60s, and in the '70s, the civil rights movement had made significant headway, urban black neighborhoods gave birth to "naturals" (Afro) haircuts, the television series "Roots" was educating, shocking and inspiring Black and White Americans both, "Blaxploitation" cinema was going strong, and television was suddenly full of black faces with shows like "Sanford and Sons," "Good Times," "Fat Albert," "Soul Train," "The Jeffersons," "What's Happening," ruling the airwaves. Hendricks's large, noble paintings of Black people were very much a part of the, "I'm Black and I'm Proud" movement of the time.

Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, and Howardena Pindell, and Martin Puryear on the other hand, are four examples of African Americans who were working within the dominant style of their time, high modernist abstraction, which by definition, does not utilize symbolism, story, or even form to express anything, but is essentially, interested strictly in formal relationships of color, texture, movement and so on. Although Puryear's work is at least suggestive of or open to imaginative interpretive leaping off.

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James Lesesne Wells is a printmaker very much in the shadow of Matisse but in very "African " colors of strongly saturated black, yellow, red and green.

Lorna Simpson, Joseph Norman, Willie Cole, Glenn Ligon, all come from "my" generation when the predominant style was "conceptual" or postmodern art. Each uses different forms, Norman uses a traditional form to explore new subjects, Simpson mixes photography and text to create new "gestalt" interpretations of the whole, Cole repurposes and represents the discarded to create objects in a new visual language, and Ligon utilizes visually expressive text to deliver a message. What each has in common is an interest in exploring issues of African American identity without using imagery to do so.

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Kara Walker, a generation right behind, emerged as a young prodigy and was catapulted to early fame. Today, her work is some of the most easily recognized, and she is probably the most famous living African American artist today. Walker did another 180-spin and returned to using imagery to express ideas and explorations about identity, race, history, feminism, and others. Walker "appropriates" a visual art form of her historical oppressor by using the cut paper silhouette, a favorite in the antebellum south, she also steals the hideous characterizations of the time and the creates sex and violence filled murals with stories that shock, make us think, laugh and generally destroy all kinds of romantic myths of the American past. Walker's work is the perfect mix of medium and message.

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Kahinde Wiley personifies an artist working in a European Tradition but utilizing African American subjects. Eight years younger than Walker, Wiley is only slightly less famous than she is. His most recent claim to fame was to be chosen by President Barak Obama to do his presidential portrait upon leaving office. It has been a common trope from the beginning of modernism, to affect change by replacing the wealthy and powerful, who for hundreds of years were the only ones able to afford to have a portrait done, with equally large and regal paintings of more common people or even peasants.

Wiley does the same, with very realistic oil paintings that mimic these portraits of kings and popes but employ highly decorative or patterned backgrounds, often at jarring contrast with the often decidedly urban and youthful dress of his subjects, sporting backwards baseball hats, gold teeth, gold chains, and baggy pants. Wiley's work screams out, like Barkley Hendricks a generation before him, "I'm Black, and I'm proud, I deserve to be on the walls of museums too." It is little wonder Obama chose him. While most of Wiley's subjects are everyday people emulating the poses of the powerful, Wiley finally gets to paint a "royal" portrait of an African American man who really did rise to be the most powerful person in the world.

Dublin’s Inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Conference: On Becoming Students and Finding Courage

This year, Dublin School held its first full-day conference to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy. 

Last year, the Students of Color Alliance (SoCA) galvanized efforts around planning, hosting, and executing the school’s first Unconference, which they called “SoCA’s a Seat at the Table Unconference.” This event—which involved topics like stereotypes, representation in the media, and internalized racism—involved an evening of student-led workshops facilitated with questions generated by participants.