The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SOAC, SMURF join forces for new Meadows art exhibit opening

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Anastasiya Shyvilka, left, discusses her painting with art division chair Bryan Molanphy.

A yellow painting hangs precisely against the canvas of the blank white wall and wooden floorboards of the Jordan Gallery in SMU’s Owen Art Center. A stone pot sits peacefully in a pool of water at the center of the room. An atmospheric melody replaces the silence of the typical art exhibit.

The art gallery was a sea of style and friendly banter as Student Organization Art Collective (SOAC) and SMU’s Student Managed Radio Frequency (SMURF) hosted their first event as a team this week: the opening reception of SOAC’s news exhibit: Distant Presence.

SOAC president and junior art major Joyce Alexander described the crowd as her community. Friends, artists and students hungry after class stopped in to view the exhibit.

“Distant Presence explores the dynamics between the seen and unseen. A lot of these pieces are about what’s going on between the lines, what’s going on between the artist and the art, and the world it lives within,” Alexander said.

The exhibit is free and will run until March 2, 2024. Its opening reception is a collaboration between SOAC and SMURF, two Meadows student organizations focused on artistic exploration and inclusion. The division of art puts up at least one exhibit each semester, but the presence of SMURF DJs is new.

“I’m a member of SOAC, so when I found out they were doing their show, I knew that there were speakers in the gallery and I knew that my club could put together a playlist! So that’s what I did,” said Capri Woss, SMURF president and junior studio art major.

“We look out for each other,” Alexander said as she referenced the collaboration with SMURF. “We’re both young organizations and we thought it was a good opportunity to highlight both our strengths all in one place.”

“I just think that music brings so many people together and as you can see it even brings art together,” Woss said.

Sophomore studio art major Anastasiya Shyvilka embodied a young art student as she stood inquisitively with her professor in front of her textured yellow painting.

“The main idea is to show the passion that is born between the artist and the musician and his musical instrument and how whatever you do in life, your work brings you a lot of passion and love and you are enjoying what you are doing,” she said.

Junior art major Sarangi Potdar spoke gently and with a compelling heart as she described her stone pot sculpture, an honoring of Hindu funerary practices.

“In Hinduism, the earth and elements of nature are very important,” she said. “This piece in particular focuses on the element of water and how it’s significant in both the creation of life and death.”

SOAC and SMURF faculty advisor Ian Grieve is an advocate for collaboration and inclusiveness in the arts and seeks to empower his students.

“From the beginning, SOAC has been a collaborative group seeking membership campus-wide and not just those within Meadows,” Grieve said. It is a natural move for the club to continue that collaborative spirit and work with another stellar campus group like SMURF at an event like this. Coupling the artwork with good music serves to lift the event to the next level.”

Many forms of expression filled the Jordan Gallery: a painted musician in love with his instrument, all four elements highlighted by a carefully crafted sculpture, a thoughtfully curated playlist, two student org presidents who aimed to uplift their artistry, and more.

“A lot of these pieces you won’t find a lot in common visually but in the context of it, the idea of it, I think at some point we all come together and that’s also what we see in the organization as a whole,” Potdar said when speaking on the integrity of SOAC, and her community of artists.

If you want to learn more about SOAC/SMURF you can visit them on Instagram at @smu_soac/@smuradiofrequency. If you want access to the playlist featured at Monday night’s event you can find it here.

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