By Jocelyn Visnov, Editor-in-Chief
An all new art exhibit featuring work inspired by journalist and activist Dorothy Day has recently become a permanent fixture in the O’Malley Library. Artist Kristi Pfister, the creator of the artwork, came to campus for a reception to discuss her work and the inspiration behind it.
Located by the main entryway of the library right inside the doors, you’ll notice Pfister’s artwork consists of several different mediums including colorful mosaics, hanging fabric columns and a large painting on a scroll.
Dr. Kevin Ahern, Ph.D, gave brief opening remarks to begin the event, noting that Dorothy Day has a unique connection to the college. According to manhattan.edu, “On May 19, 1975, Day received the De La Salle Medal from then-College president, Brother Gregory Nugent, FSC, and had visited the campus on numerous occasions.”
Pfister then gave a brief overview of each of the pieces in the exhibit. She noted that the different pieces were inspired by Day’s life and her work.
“Glass and marble mosaic represents the iconography of Dorothy Day as an activist and spiritually,” Pfister said. “I call the four pieces called convergence of this is a really good time to really evaluate the water the earth in the air at the time she hadn’t conceived your child can also basically embrace Catholicism and lead her on the path to become a follower of Catholicism.”
Pfister explained that Dorothy Day has long felt inspired by Dorothy Day’s work as an activist.
“I admire her for her strength, her power, her leadership, her feminism, her intellect, like her devotion to cause she’s not a hypocrite like some people,” Pfister said. “So she’s just been a muse of mine since the early 2000’s really.”
Pfister came to curate the exhibit after she met Ahern at an art show of hers which took place on Staten Island. The pieces showcased previous pieces Pfister had created inspired by Dorothy Day’s work.
“These works [on display in the library] have appeared in different ways in other exhibitions,” Pfister said. “But it made sense when I met Kevin Ahern to kind of put them together here.”
Ahern discussed his hopes for having the new exhibition open as a permanent part of campus.
“I think public art can tell a story of a college in a lot of ways, and we have a lot of public art that’s older,” Ahern said. “So it’s nice to have newer art.”
He mentioned he hopes the constant reminder of Day and commitment to activism and academic excellence can inspire MC students to do the same.
“I think art has the potential to communicate messages, not just not just beauty,” Ahern said. “So this I hope communicates a message of the need for students to be involved in action, and needs for peace, the needs for students to pay attention to the poor and the oppressed. And I think the importance of journalists, writers and creative thinkers, but I think Dorothy and one person sums up all these really cool creative things that I hope can inspire one or two more students.”
Senior Kathy Radko is currently interning with Ahern, working in the Dorothy Day Center on campus.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Radko said, referring to the exhibit. “I think it just feels so light and airy. And like how Dr. Ahern said it’s usually so dark, some of the art we have in the office feels very harsh and stern, but this feels so beautiful and airy and more light hearted. And really gets the other spirit of her work like she’s known for like, not aggression, but like sternness and power but this really gets the softness of her message and the care she had for certain people.”