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“Integrate” pulls big crowd at Campus Gate Art Gallery

November 15, 2010

By Brittney Bennet, Staff Writer

On Thurs. Nov. 4, Young Harris College’s Campus Gate Art Gallery opened the new exhibit “Integrate,” by Darius and Bethanne Hill. Open to both students and locals, the show began at 6 p.m.

Slowly, a mass of students, faculty, staff and community residents began to fill the art gallery.  Both Hills gave an introduction to their respective halves of the exhibit, then continued to socialize and answer any questions asked by viewers. One audience member asked Mr. Hill why the image of a hair pick was such an important object in his pieces. Darius replied that earlier in his artwork the picks were a symbol of his African American heritage, because he grew his hair in the time’s fashionable “afro.” The hairstyle was kept in style by using a hair pick.

After this, Hill continued incorporating the picks into his work; but, after talking with relatives he realized “the symbolism changed as I learned more about my heritage and myself, and it is an ever changing object, where they actually start resembling people; and, so many different speculations can be made.”  The majority of Darius’ works are large scale mixed-media prints, with interspersed small scale paper canvases with his running theme of African American heritage and memorabilia.

To segue into his wife Bethanne Hill’s work, there were a series of small canvas paintings of tombstones stylistically similar to Darius Hills’, but her style is more influenced by Aboriginal and tribal artworks.

For her inspiration, she draws on the folk music of her rural Alabama beginnings.  Bethanne Hill is a full-time artist with a Bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts from Birmingham-Southern College, and Darius Hill has Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in printmaking from Atlanta College of Art. Currently, Darius Hill serves as the Chair of Visual Arts Department at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

For those that were unable to attend opening night, the ‘Integrate,’ exhibition will be on display until Dec. 3.

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