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How Do I Know I’m Beautiful?

Hassan Hajjaj, My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume 1, 2012, Poetic Pilgrimage, purchased with funds provided by Art of the Middle East: CONTEMPORARY, courtesy of Rose Issa Projects

“How Do I Know I’m Beautiful? Unless someone tells me…” Т A student asked this question in class last week while discussing identity and perception. Т The question moved me. Т I wrote it down. Т I think about it. Т It has stuck with me.

Yesterday, we visited the Wexner Center for the Arts to experience Hassan Hajjaj’s “My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume 1” and “Fiber: Sculpture 1960-Present.” Т While comparing the fabric sculptures, a student asked, “What makes something valuable?’ Т We were discussing art, but this is essentially the same question posed a week ago.

Thinking about the exhibits, I believe the value of the art is linked with the process- the inspiration, the planning, the labor. Some of these pieces took days, months, maybe even years to plan and create. Т They are original, one-of-a-kind. Т And they all somehow reveal facets of the artists’ beliefs- about feminism, capitalism, tradition, community. Т People say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but you have to appreciate the time and energy these artists dedicate to their craft.

Thinking about my students, their value to me is also linked with a process- the growing, the learning, the knowing. Т My relationship with some of these teenagers was rocky in September. Т They were another bunch of silly freshmen pushing the limits. Т My colleague and I joke that we don’t really like students until they are OUR students. Т In these six months I have learned that these 38 students are amazingТ young men and women. Т They are unique,Т one-of-a-kind.Т Т They are underestimated. Т Despite their small bodies and young ages, they have HUGE thoughts and PROFOUND questions. Т They are already thinking about big issues like racism and identity and how to make their world better. Т There is value in this process, right? Т I am proud.

I want all of my students to know they are beautiful and valuable to me!


  Credit: Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co. and Charles Mayer


Photo Sources:

“An Interview with Artist Hassan Hajjaj.” Т Unframed.Т 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.Т

Neary, Megan. “Fiber Takes New Form in Wexner Center Exhibition.”Т The Lantern. N.p., 01 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.Т Т

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