I believe that art should stand on its own merits without explanation. However, because I use such wide ranging images in my photomontages, I am going to provide an artist’s statement for each of them. The statement will include information about the images incorporated into the photomontage as well as some of my thoughts. The artwork is alphabetized by title.
On 11 September 2001, I arrived on campus after two planes hit the World Trade Center but before the Pentagon was hit and a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. My students and I watched the Twin Towers fall. One of the things that stay with me concerning this horrific day was colleagues who continued to teach their classes as if nothing was going on in the outside world. The background image was taken by FEMA photographer Michael Rieger one week after the attack. It shows the Woolworth Building behind the rubble of the World Trade Center. The peasant is from a fifteenth century Book of Hours, which is stamped with the arms of Anne of Austria (1601-1666).
Accepting the Reality of Ignorance Leads to Wisdom
The background for this piece is Odilon Redon’s Strange Flower (Little Sister of the Poor) (1880). I have replaced the face that Redon used on the flower with the Bocca della Verità [Mouth of Truth], a marble mask from antiquity. Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity who is the god of learning as well as wind and air. This image is how he is depicted in the Codex Borgia. The scholar is Geoffrey of Monmouth who is the author of Historia regum Britanniae [The History of the Kings of Britain] (c. 1136).
Almost Failing Out of Graduate School, 1983
This piece is one of my “self-portraits” in which another figure stands in for me. In this case, it is a student at his desk, writing on a piece of paper. I know nothing else about the image. Abottle on the table holds Krampus, a demon/goat figure from Central European folklore. This image is from a postcard. In modern times, he accompanies Santa Clause to punish naughty children. However, his origins are pre-Christian. The traditional libation to offer Krampus was schnapps, the bottle on my desk was either Scotch or vodka. Because of my drinking, I came close to failing out of graduate school, but stopped drinking in 1983.
The American Caravan
The words we choose to define things impact how we interpret them. For example, in this piece, I am asking “What is the impact if we redefine “American Progress” as “The American Caravan;” especially while America was discussing the migrant caravan at the end of 2018. The background of this piece is a pre-1942 map of the United States and Mexico. The Americans moving toward Mexico are from John Gast’s “American Progress” (1872). I changed the original images to black and white to match the photograph of the Mexican woman and her children. The woman is a photograph by S. J. Spooner that appeared in National Geographic Magazine, (Vol. 31. 1917. p. 559). The caption for the photograph was “A PATIENT MEXICAN MOTHER. When war for the peace of the world and ‘for the principles that gave her birth,’ is welding the great heart of America into high-purposed unity, she must needs feel a deep pity for the mothers and children of distracted Mexico, and a just indignation that their burden of poverty and distress has been increased by selfish Prussian intrigue.”
And Yet She Persisted
I am amazed at the difficult lives that many of my students live and how hard they have to persist to get their educations. Sometimes, it is as if the task is Sisyphean; that they will never be able to get the rock over the hill. Yet, they do. The background for this piece is view #36 from Katsushika Hokusai’s (1760–1849) 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. It is also an homage to Cathy N. Davidson, my major professor in English, who wrote a book of the same title.1 The “rock” that the woman is pushing up Mt. Fuji is a Yuzu fruit and references a series of four reflections I wrote on a Yuzu tree. Revised versions of three appear in this book. The Yuzi is part of a pencil and watercolor drawing of a Yuzu done my Kawahara Keiga (1786 – c. 1860). The woman is from a pen drawing titled “Excelsior!” which was published in Punch (13 July 1910). The woman is a suffragette who is shown pushing a rock up a hill. As we know, the suffragette was successful. The professor is from a 1920 photograph. I know nothing else about him, but love the fact that it looks as if he is taking a selfie.
Balancing Heart and Mind
This image is not a photomontage. Instead, it is a computer generated image that has been hand colored. The main part of the image is Nicolaes de Bruyn’s Justice from his series of etchings on the Cardinal Infections (1648–1656). At Justice’s feet are nineteenth century drawings of the heart and the brain. When Justice weights the hearts and minds of academics, she is not looking at them to balance. As a Theravada Buddhist, I might want such balance or equanimity in my personal life. But as an academic, I strive to have my mind outweigh my heart. My feelings count, but what I feel is not evidence.
Because I Can
This piece is part of a series I completed concerning administrative foibles. It deals with the issue of ruling by administrative fiat. For example, I once asked an administrator2 why she had overruled the failing grade I had given to a student who was guilty of academic dishonesty in a course I was teaching. Her response, “Because I can.” Although the series focused on administrators, faculty members--including myself--have been guilty of taking the same position. Using Florida convict laborers from the early twentieth century as the background is intended to reference the arrogance of a corrupt dominant culture that uses its power against less powerful members of society. In our classrooms, those individuals are our students. As faculty members, we must be careful that there are pedagogically strong reasons when we say “because I can” and are not replicating the worst of arrogant administrators about whom it is too easy to complain.
Becoming Enlightened When Life is Busy
The foreground for this image is one of my favorite photographs of me with my father. It was taken in 1958 when he graduated from Michigan State University. He would later earn his Masters in Library Science from Central Michigan University. I would grow up to earn three degrees from MSU. The photograph was taken in the living room of our first family home in Unionville, Michigan. Beaumont Tower is to commemorate Michigan State. The background is Vincent van Gogh’s Road with Cypress and Star (1890). I selected this particular painting because the ancient Chinese character for “enlightenment” combined the characters for “sun” and “moon;” the two brightest objects in the sky.
The Bird with the Human Head
Since I first read it more 30 years ago, I have remembered the end of Anne Sexton’s observation that “Abundance is scooped from abundance yet abundance remains” which concludes her poem “What the Bird with the Crooked Head Knew.”3 The background for this piece is Xia Chang’s 夏㫤 (1388–1470) Xiao-Xiang River after Rain. The swan’s face is from a photograph of Harriet Tubman. The swan is from the Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 764, Folio 65v. There is a Buddhist story about a swan and a peacock. The peacock is more beautiful than the swan, but because of its attachments, it is hindered in its movement. The swan is able to glide swiftly to its goal.
Instead of using a monk to represent Cakkhupala, I decided to use a Buddhist pilgrim by photographed by Felice Beato. The photograph was hand colored. The shrine was in the original photograph. I rotated the pilgrim so that he was facing in the opposite direction than in the original photograph.
The locust that serves as the ground was drawn by George Shaw in 1805.
The background image is from the Locust plague in the United States in 1915. I have no other information about the image. I changed the color of the original image from black and white.
The sun/moon—it could be either—is a photograph of my eye. The significance of the eye is that when he became an arahat, Cakkhupala became blind. This was the result of kamma. In a previous life, Cakkhupala was a doctor. One of his patients said she and her children would become his servant if he cured her. When she was almost cured, Cakkhupala discovered that the woman was not intending to fulfill her agreement. He then gave one last treatment which he knew would blind her.
Climbing to the Heights
We can ask students to reach above their abilities if we give them proper guidance and support. This piece represents students climbing to the top of the mountain. At the height of the mountain is a Greek Tetradrachm Coin (5th century BCE) which features an owl to which I have added a graduation cap. The owl is a traditional symbol of wisdom and was a favorite animal of my grandmother Rachel Liberacki. The background is an anonymous author’s Valley of Chamonix. Crossing the Sea of Ice (c. 1902-1904). I have been unable to determine the author of Ascent of Mont Blanc which is incorporated into the image.
Come on In, the Water’s Fine
Sometimes it is hard for faculty members to take risks to change our pedagogies. Yet, there are times we must wade into the deep end. I say “wade”rather than “dive” because we are most successful taking small steps. The background for this piece is from Claude Monet’s Waterlilies: Green Reflections (1914-18). The people are from Jan Van Beers’ A 19th-Century Bathing Machine (1888).
Dōmo-kōmo Taking a Class
The Dōmo-kōmo is a two headed creature with gray skin. The one pictured here is from the Bakemono zukushi and is attending a class at the University of Alabama in 1890. We do not know the painter or date of the Bakemono zukushi, but is is likely from the eighteenth or nineteenth century. The Dōmo-kōmo seems to be a perfect image for the helicopter parent who is so merged with their child that they create a murderous giant. Each head controls its respective side of the body. However, the right side tends to dominate. This is the case with Dōmo-kōmo parents who are the dominant partner in the relationship. Too often, the child is regulated to irrelevancy. Even though the parent is not literally in the classroom, their presence can cast a pall over the relationship between professor and student.
The Eagle Earned Demerits: An Educational Allegory
Amos E. Dolbear, writing under the pseudonym Aesop, Jr., published “An Educational Allegory” in Journal of Education (1898). In this allegory, the eagle earned demerits because he got to the top of the tree the wrong way. He flew instead of climbed. In this piece, the eagle is a Bella Coola Indian grave box which was photographed by Harlan Smith (c. 1909). The other animals in the piece are all doing things that they are not naturally included to do. The cat playing a bagpipe is from the marginalia in a Book of Hours (Paris, c. 1460). The dog is from The Decretals of Gregory IX, edited by Raymund of Penyafort (c. 1300-1340). The goat is an illustration in Oliver Herford’s Artful Anticks (1894). The rabbit riding the lion is from Ms 107, Bréviaire de Renaud de Bar, fol.-89r-89r, Bibliothèque de Verdun (1302-1304). The goldfish is from Scheveningen Adriaen Coenensz’s The Fishbook (1577-1580). The bird is from Franz Helm of Cologne’s Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 128, f.74r (1535). The background is a baobab tree on the bank of the Chobe River. It was released by jeanvdmeulen on Pixabay.
Educating the False Prophets
The librarian (at least I see her as a librarian) in this piece is conducting a book drive during World War II. The image in the lower right is a detail from and illustration in the Queen Mary Apocalypse (14th century)4 showing John watching frogs emerge from the mouths of mouths of the false prophets as well as a seven headed dragon and a seven headed beast. The Biblical passage is Revelation 16:13. I believe that education will win out over ignorance.
Education and Social Mobility
Throughout history education has been a path toward social mobility. The background for this photomontage is a floor mosaic of fighting gladiators from a Roman villa near Nennig on Mosel in Germany (c. 250 CE). The people in front includes Chinese scholar Su Shi (1037 – 1101), coal miner George Lawrence Berg (1899-1927), a woman from the nineteenth century holding her diploma, a slave from Barbados, a Japanese Samurai warrior, Alexa Azzopardi and her dog Cami on her graduation with a Masters of Library Science, and individuals attending a French salon. The slave is from Augostino Brunias’ The Barbadoes Mulatto Girl (c. 1764). The people in the salon are from Château de Malmaison’s Reading of Voltaire's L'Orphelin de la Chinein the Salon of Madame Geoffrin (1812). I am not sure of the photographer of the Samurai, but have a source that says it was taken on 1 June 1870.
Enjoying a Hot Beverage
I now joke with students that I am content sitting in the back of the room drinking my tea while they teach the class. In this piece, I am represented by by J.J. Jenkins’ The Chelsea Pensioner (1826). Using the pensioner is a reference to how I joke with students about being an old man. The background of the image is an image of Odin, the Norse God who hung himself on a Yggdrasil tree in order to gain wisdom from the runes. If you believe what is in the Saxon Chronicles, an argument can be made that Odin was my 52nd great grandfather. I tell my students that their professor is descended from the gods. Although my main hot beverage of choice is herb tea, my passion for turkish coffee is reflected in the background. The image of Odin is a transparency on top of Juan Gris’ Still Life with Coffee Mill (1916). I did change the color of Gris’ sketch.
Equanimity Surrounded By Detractors
As professors, we are often under attack. Sometimes it is difficult to keep our equanimity while our detractors surround us. Yet, it is important to work oward equanimity; such as that which has been found by St. Thomas Aquinas from Gentile da Fabriano’s Marienkrönung, Giebelgemälde [The Coronation of the Virgin] (c. 1400). The background is a detail from Coppo di Marcovaldo’s The Hell (c. 1301). The bottom panel is from Bakemono Zukushi’s “Monster” Scroll (18th–19th century).
Expanding Classroom Geography
The idea of illustrating an expanded classroom with school being taught on the moon came to me rather quickly, but how to show it took some thought; especially because my original decision to use a moonscape from Georges Méliès’ Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902) as the background proved to be unworkable for me. Selecting a screen capture from The Sky: A Film Lesson in “Nature Study” was not, however, a consolation. It is actually a better background that what I imaged. I was able to pay homage to Méliès by using his planets and stars in the sky. The mushrooms are also inspired by the mushrooms that the scientists found on Méliès’ moon. The mushrooms in this piece are from Giacomo Bresadola’s I funghi mangerecci e velenosi dell'Europa media con speciale riguardo a quelli che crescono nel Trentino - II edizione riveduta ed aumentata 1906. The lecture is from Bartholomaeus Anglicus’ De proprietatibus rerum (early fifteenth century).
I remember attending a seminar in which an accounting professor explained how her teaching improved after taking a dancing course. It made her a better professor because she was able to reconnect with memories of how scary it is to learn new things. The background for the piece is Maria Spelterini crossing the Niagara River gorge in July 1876. This is just one of several trips she made over a several day period. To make the scene even more scary, I added a dragon Edward Topsell’s The History of Four-footed Beasts (1607). The creatures in the water are from Sebastian Münster’s chart of sea monsters which is from Olaus Magnus' Carta Marina (1539). The crocodile in the is from a medieval manuscript (c. 1230-14th century).5
This piece celebrates the cycle of life: birth, life, death, and rebirth. The main photograph was taken on my first birthday: 17 January 1958. It was also the day that my new baby brother Christopher came home from the hospital. He had been born five days earlier. The background is the obituary for my my grandfather Ferdinand Berg (1896-1942). The lotus flower is an important symbol in Buddhism. For the purposes of Promoting Student Success at the Community College, it represents all of those things--both positive and negative--that get in the way of our academic lives. Those of us who are full time faculty members have personal business days and sick days and bereavement days and days that we are not teaching on which we can schedule appointments. Our students and adjunct colleagues do not enjoy those benefits. But there is nothing to stop faculty to work with students when life gets in the way. And full time faculty can make ourselves available to assist adjunct faculty members by covering classes and so forth when they need assistance.
When my brother became a vegetarian more than 30 years ago for political reasons, he began to educate me on food distribution issues.6 It is not that we do not have enough food to feed people, the problem is priorities and food distribution systems. During the past few years, I have become especially concerned about food insecurity; especially as it relates to my students. The background for this piece is Severin Roesen’s Still Life with Fruit 1865. Many of Roesen’s paintings were purchased by newly wealthy merchants in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The image in the foreground was taken by W. W. Hooper during the Orissa famine (1866–1867) in India. The 20 year old man is 5’ tall and weighs only 62 pounds.
What does one do on Friday night? Party? Study? For my students, the answer is often “work.” I know nothing about the young man in this piece, but he impresses me as someone who knows work and does hard work. The woman is a student at Pomona College around the turn of the twentieth century. The marijuana plant is for partying.
Gesture of Teaching : Karuṇā Radiates From Metta
The Gautama Buddha is holding his hands in a gesture of teaching [Vitarkamudra]. It is from the Angkor period which was during the late 12th-early 13th century in Thailand. Several of the Buddhas in my private collection are from Thailand which is also a country I have visited. I know nothing about the Japanese student who is looking at him. The background is Charles Hippolyte Aubry’s Study of Leaves on a Background of Floral Lace (1864). I like the organic nature of the leaves which also suggest a link to Thai Forest Buddhism.
Helping students grow their brains is at the heart of our teaching. The background for this piece is Nicolas Henri Jacob’s illustration in the third volume of Jean Babtiset Marc Bourgery’s Traité complet de l'anatomie de l'homme, comprenant la médicine opératoire (1844). The plant is Asarum canadense [Canadian Wild Ginger] that was done by an anonymous artist after the work of Jacques-Philippe Cornut, 1685. It was published in Popular Science Monthly (Volume 70, 1907). The farmer is an illustration from the Tacuinum Sanitatis, a late 1400 text based on the eleventh century Arabic manuscript Taqwīm as‑siḥḥah تقويم الصحة. Even though I have the farmer growing dendrites, in the manuscript he was growing carrots. Good health and good pedagogy go well together.
Horticulture and Horses
This piece is inspired by Dorothy Parker who, when asked to use “horticulture” in a sentence, replied “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” Although Parker’s clever response makes some assumptions about prostitutes, she does not imply that they can’t think when given the opportunity. Although I use Parker’s statement as a cautionary tale in “Of Horticulture and Horses,” this piece of art celebrates learning. The background is Gustav Klimt’s Farm Garden with Sunflowers (c.1912). The river and lower land is from an unknown Flemish artist’s The Angel of Paradise with a Sword (c. 1475). The horse was likely drawn in in central Rajasthan during the middle of the nineteenth-century. The original was not in black and white. The woman is Belle Brezing (1860-1940), a Lexington madam.
Horror Narrative: A Student Faculty Collaboration
During a presentation, a student led us in a drawing activity. I used my drawing as a draft for a photomontage. I now keep the original in my office and discuss the collaborative nature of the work when students comment on it. The background of the photograph is of Harlech Castle drawn by W.H. Bartlett.7 The man is a flayed man drawn by Juan Valverde de Amusco and published in Anatomia del corpo humano (1559). The trees were copyright free.
I am Surrounded by Idiots
A couple of years ago, I did a series of pieces concerning administrative foibles from a faculty point of view. Most of these pieces were for my amusement, but two are published in If Everything Happens That Can’t Be Done. St. Joseph is the patron saint of educators and is circumvenior ab stultis; surrounded by idiots. Four of the five administrators are wearing crowns of European royalty. The crown of the fifth is a beer bottle. The background is a Gustave Doré illustration for Dante’s Inferno depicting King Geryon. Geryon would use flattering words to bring people close to him. He would then kill them. Dante makes him, like unethical administrators, the demon of deceit. It should be noted that also administrators are cast as evil characters, not all administrators fall into this category. And as I mentioned in the introduction to chapter 01, sometimes the idiot is ourselves.
If You Are Going To Speak…
The main feature of this page is Salvator Rosa’s Self Portrait (c. 1645). In it, Rosa is holding a sign that reads “Aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio” which translates “If you're going to speak, it ought to be better than silence.” Rosa’s ideal is set against John Martin’s Fall of the Rebel Angles (1826) to illustrate an edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost (originally published in 1667).
If You Are Without Warmth
The background for this piece is Walter Dendy Sadler’s The End of the Skein (1896). I was debating between a couple of other backgrounds that just had furniture in them. But when I came across Sandler’s painting, I knew I had been moving in the wrong direction. People are needed for warmth and I find a special warmth between the elderly couple in this painting. The dog is our Abuela who was almost dead when we rescued her. We expected that we would hospice her for no more than six months. Yet she lived and brought joy to the household for three years. Each year at Christmas time, Abuela would have her own little Christmas tree next to her casa. The woman in the Christmas tree is from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. I think she adds a cheerful, whimsical element to the scene.
The Lecture vs. Active Learning
In the mid-fourteenth century, when the background image of a lecture from University of Bologna in Italy was created, lecturing made a certain degree of success. Books were rare and to have the lecturing reading a book to a group of students was a practical way to spread information. However, more than 700 years later, such a strategy is no longer efficient. Nor is it an effective pedagogy in many situations. Instead, we should promote active learning. The idea of students doing their own research was symbolized by the man reading an oversized book. In this case, the book is the The Codex Gigas which was part of a stereoscopic image taken in 1906. The Chinese girl holding what appears to be a stack of books is actually holding pillows. I like the fact that it is likely that viewers will--like I did--see books. I didn’t realize what she was really holding until I did research on the photograph. However, the pillows could be for the sleeping scholars.
Little Dogs Riding Fish
This image is a detail from a larger piece I designed for my husband. The background is a pond in our backyard. The dogs from left to right are Snooki, Pichi, and Lil’ Mama. The turtles lived in a different pond. The little boy fishing is a statue that my husband has had for 38 years. It was a gift from a friend of his. There is no deep meaning in this piece. It was designed as a fun piece to celebrate my husband’s love for his pets as well as other interests he has. It reminds us to take joy in life.
At the heart of the transformative educational experience is metamorphosis. The background is Maria Sibylla Merian’s Branch of Duroia eriopila with Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly (1702-1703). The stages of the butterfly from egg to larva to pupa to butterfly. As professors, we take students from where they are at to the next step. The man is Dr. George Washington Carver who transformed peanuts and the peanut industry as well as the lives of African Americans. Although the piece shows a linear progression, in reality there are steps backward as well as forward. There is also the need to unlearn what we already know when new knowledge becomes available.
Of Caffeinated Goats and Students
A friend and colleague would always try to get me to overload on coffee before meetings because when I was highly caffeinated, “Meetings were more interesting.” Sometimes, our students seem highly caffeinated; not unlike Kaldi and his goats. The background for this image in the goat herder Kaldi who is reputed to have discovered coffee when he saw how animated his goats became when he saw them eating coffee berries. This image of Kaldi and his goats is from William H. Ukers’ All About Coffee (1922). The colored plants are images of coffee plants. The scholar overlooking the scene is a picture of a bishop from William Alexander’s Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the English (1814).
I describe my religious views as one who does his best to follow the Buddha Dhamma [teachings of the Buddha] in the Theravada tradition. In 2009, I had the honor and privilege to sponsor the Katina ceremony8 at my viharra. A viharra is the place where the monks live as in the center of the Theravada Buddhist community. The photograph was taken of me carrying the Katina robe during the ceremony. The Buddha was cut from a magazine. Although the robe is offered to the community of monks, in this photomontage, I am offering it to Mara. Depending on the tradition of Buddhism being followed, Mara is either a demon or a personification of evil. In front of Mara there is an ostrich from Conrad Gessner’s Conradi Gesneri Medici Tigurini Historiae animalium (1551) and represents those who put their heads in the sand. When I was sharing a draft of this book with my composition students, they asked why I would offer kindness to an evil being? My response is that we cannot make distinctions as to which students deserve our kindness. Or, in the words of Christ, “Whatsoever you do to even the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto me.”9
Overcoming the Fear of Failure
The background is a posed photograph by Charles Francis Himes which was taken outside Tome Scientific Building at Dickinson College (c. 1890). I would be interested to know more about the woman in the dunce cap,the professor pointing her away from the building, and the intention of the photographer. I believe that the intent was comic although I am taking it more seriously in this piece. I added images of cacti to indicate the desert created by a fear of failure and, this case, the public humiliation that goes with it. The violets are behind Emily Dickson who graduated from London’s Royal College of Physicians in 1891.
Promoting Student Success at the Community College
The individual in the yoga position with branches coming out of their hands was designed by mohamed-hassan. The books were designed by anaterate. Both were released on Pixabay.
Providing a Transformative Learning Experience
The background for this piece is Jacob Riis’ Children's Playground in Poverty Cap, New York (c. 1890s). The photograph of Susie King Taylor was taken in 1902. King was born into slavery. She was educated in an illegal school and by a free African American woman. Several years later, King would be the first African American woman to openly teach in a school for former slaves. I added fresh vegetables to the wheelbarrows because nutrition is such an important component of education and issues of food insecurity are currently rising.
The Scholar Athlete as Artist
Tanner Brose is a fine scholar and soccer player who is pursuing an interest in art. He is a budding polymath (from the Greek πολυμαθής), someone who has learned much. While working with Brose, I enjoyed watching him devour and integrate texts as he studied child soldiers for an exhibit on “Physical and Mental Health in a Global Environment.” Brose’s sport is soccer so I chose Umberto Boccioni’s Dynamism of a Soccer Player (1913) as the background. The light is made up of a soccer ball and circle of colored pencils which I obtained from copyright free websites. Brose’s photograph was chosen by him when he was selected to give a presentation with Jessica Worden-Jones and me at the 2018 Michigan Developmental Education Consortium Conference.
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Because this piece was completed in December 2018, there is no way to divorce this photomontage from contemporary American politics. Nor do I intend to do so. In fact, I included the bats from Thomas Nast’s “The Political Vampire” which was published in Harper’s Weekly (April 1885). The man with his head on table is from Francisco Goya’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters which is image No. 43 from his Los Caprichos (1799). The background is Dynamism of a Man's Head by Umberto Boccioni, (1913).
Socrates in the Islamic Golden Age
While doing research on Islamic education, I came across an image of Socrates teaching his pupils. It is from the thirteenth century Sughrat [Socrates] by a Seljuk illustrator. The background is Al-Biruni’s (973-1048) illustration of the phases of the moon from Kitab al-Tafhim.
St. Francis and the Animals
I have always admired St. Francis and, at one time in my life, even considered becoming a Third Order Franciscan. The background for this photomontage is a photograph I took in my backyard. The animals come from various Medieval beatiarties and from the marginalia of religious manuscripts. St. Francis is a transformational figure. He started a life of luxury enjoying his fine clothes and extravagant spending. After an illness, he reevaluated his life and made his changes. Transformation is at the heart of the community college experience.
Standing With Power and Compassion
I first met Sonyanga Ole Ngais when I requested permission to reprint some photographs of the Maasai Cricket Ladies for an exhibit on “Physical and Mental Health in a Global Environment.”10 Through him, I met Richard Turere who is also known as “Lion Boy” as well as other members of the Maasai community. The Maasai Warriors are using their status as cricketers and warriors to advocate against Female Genital Mutilation as well as to work for other improvements in the Maasai Community. In this piece, Ngais is shown in his cricket kit. Turere developed a way to scare lions away from the cattle which means that the Maasai Warriors do not need to kill them to protect their livestock. Turere is shown with one of his herd. The lions next to Turere were photographed next to him. The background is a still from Men of Two Worlds (1946) which was directed by Thorold Dickinson. The Maasai women from Njeri, Kenya standing with Ngais are from an 1885 print. The sun combines beading worn by a Maasai Cricket Lady and a cricket ball.
Tea Under the Yuzu Tree
After visiting my cousin Ursula Berg Anderson and her husband John Anderson in California, I wrote four essays inspired by watching Dominic trim their Yuzu tree. Three updated versions from that series are in this book. I like to teach these essays in my first semester composition classes because they begin with the first two sentences but have different themes. I use them to show my students that a single incident can inspire different types of learning. The background for this image is from an 1892 Japanese painting by an unknown artist. I embossed the painting for artistic reasons. The women under the branch are from Toshikata Mizuno’s The Ceremony (1896). The woman walking away from the ceremony is from a photograph taken during the nineteenth century by Kusakabe_Kimbei. 茶道 are the Kanji characters for “tea ceremony.” For me, the tea ceremony represents a gift of respect and harmony which serve as the basis for a live lived with equanimity. It is a gift we offer all of our students; even those who turn their backs on us and walk away from our offer.
Teaching While Underimparied
The idea that too often we don’t care about issues because they do not impact us is a concept that interests me and one we must work to counter. The background for this piece is a detail from Francesco del Cossa’s St. Lucy (1473). St. Lucy (283–304) was a Christian martyr. During her life she had her eyes gouged out; either by herself or as punishment for seeing the future. The stories vary. But it is also reported that, when her family was preparing her body for burial, they discovered that her eyes had been restored. To Cossa’s painting, I added the eyeglasses. The three individuals at the bottom of the piece are Helen Keller with her dog (1887), a New York man in a wheelchair (c. 1885), and a girl with prosthetic legs (c. 1900).
This is a simple piece that uses Currier & Ives’ “The Progress of the Century – The Lightning Steam Press. The Electric Telegraph. The Locomotive. The Steamboat” (1876) as the background. I have added Vexels’ silhouette of a student working on a computer in the corner. Technology is going to progress and faculty members need to adopt of pedagogical approaches with it.
There is More to Life Than Surgeons Can Remove
Although I am a first believer in science, I also know that there are some things to which science itself cannot give meaning. Or, in the words from “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the 1966 Broadway musical of the same title: “There is more to life than surgeons can remove.” The image is intended to remind us that while data is important, we cannot forget the human and spiritual element that is part of education. To capture this idea, I set Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1631) against a backdrop of a photograph I took in my front yard. I purchased the metallic butterfly stickers were purchased at a dollar store.
Those Who Benefit from Universal Design
Universal design benefits everyone; not just people who have a disability. This point is made with two images of George Spinning (1895-1978) who was a World War I veteran who developed polio and spent most of his life in a wheelchair. The background is Frederick H Evans’ photograph of steps leading to the Chapter House in Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England. At the top of the stairs is William Hogarth's Scholars at a Lecture (1736).
Tips and Tricks #01
I was greatly intrigued by Lucky2013’s image of a clown watering a sunflower that is growing from the parched earth. As professors, we take what we are given and do our best to make it work. I added the rain which was designed by OpenClipart-Vectors and the large sunflower and fall fruits and vegetables to the forefront because it is the bounty of our work. All of the images used were released on Pixabay.
Tips and Tricks #02
The background for this piece is a photograph of two nineteenth century circus performers which I manipulated to give it the color and design it now has. The over which they are performing was Edmonton’s first school which was built in 1881. I am not sure of the exact date of the photograph.
Tips and Tricks #03
Harlequins were a servant who worked against the interests of their masters. They were tricksters who might not be the type of student a professor would welcome into their classroom. Yet, as a professor, I often collaborate with my students to destroy my plans and rebuild the classroom in a way that better suits them. The books were designed by Momentma and anaterate and were released on Pixabay. The two harlequins in the lower right were designed by OpenClipart-Vectors who released them on Pixabay. The other harlequins are from earlier sources.
Tips and Tricks #04
I admire Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji because he looks at the same thing from various perspectives; a strategy that we need to adopt if we want to be our best. Furthermore, there are actually 46 views of Mt. Fuji because Hokusai created 10 drawings after the book was published. His work--and ours--is never complete. Annie Edson Taylor was a schoolteacher who, on 24 October 1901, was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive. I feel a connection to Taylor because, for a period of time, she lived in Bay City, Michigan. I lived in Essexville, which is Bay City’s only suburb, while in Junior and Senior high school and later lived in Bay City for a period of time after I finished graduate school. The sun is a photograph taken by NASA. The Arabic text can be translated, “Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever has not kindness has not faith.”
Tips and Tricks #05
This piece was originally named Matthew 7:20 #2, Faculty (2019) and is part of a three part series interpreting this Biblical passage looking at how it applies to Christians, faculty, and Donald Trump. The background is a nineteenth century photograph of a one room school in Eatonville, Washington. Professor Clark Iverson’s face is on the body of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’s body is a detail from “Madonna and Child with St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas” by Fra Angelico (1445). The seeds are from a free graphics website. The owl was released by Gellinger on Pixabay. Owls are frequently associated with education. This owl also pays homage to my teacher, grandmother who collected owls.
Tips and Tricks #06
A student juggling apples in from a schoolhouse is one that brings comfort and satisfaction. The background is a photograph by moise_theodor which I manipulated by changing the color and by embossing. The apples being juggled by the student were created by Capri23auto. The schoolhouse was created by SilviaP_Design. The images were all released on Pixabay.
Tips and Tricks #07
The background is a detail from Leonardo da Vinci’s Study of Proportions. The breaks in the glasses were designed by OpenClipart-Vectors and released on Pixabay. The world is from NASA. The glasses and man with sledgehammer are from free websites.
Tips and Tricks #08
The circus tent is really the tip of a fountain pen and a line of ink. It was created by Clker-Free-Vector-Images and released on Pixabay. The magician and his assistant are my grandfather Alexander Liberacki and my grandmother Rachael Wilcox Liberacki. My grandfather was a well known magician in Michigan. I am a third generation magician.
The Transformed Classroom
Unfortunately, I have been unable to learn anything about the background image, but I did find the flying car to be absolutely delightful. The education related images I added include Mykola Yaroshenko’s Курсистка [Girl Student] (1880 or 1883) which is found in the upper left. I do not have additional information on the book mobile, but the individual standing in front of it is Jessie Webb (1880-1944) who was an historian who was one of the first female professors at the University of Melbourne. The other two students in the piece are from a postcard published in Heidelberg (1903).
Underprepared → Prepared → Advanced → Excel
The motto of the National Association of Developmental Education is “Helping underprepared students prepare, prepared students advance, advanced students excel.” The background for the piece is a 1912 photograph of Hiawatha Playfield in Seattle, Washington. The underprepared student is the Factory Rob Kidd who worked in an Alexander, Virginia factory at the turn of the 20th century. The prepared student is a nineteenth century photograph of a Geisha holding an umbrella. The advanced student is Lady Florence Norman who is riding her motor-scooter to work (1916). The student who is excelling is an African American sailor (c. 1861-1865) who is flying with Monarch wings.
United We Stand
I so much enjoy the powerful message in United We Stand. Divided We Fall, a portrait of American Civil War veterans Frank M. Howe and Velorus W. Bruce. For these two men standing as they are, the message is both literally and figuratively true. This is a message that we must take into our classrooms where cooperation between faculty and students in vital to success as is the cooperation of others such as administrators, parents, the community, politicians, and many others. The background is James McNeill Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1875) with the sparks from a sparkler dancing in the foreground.
When a Grandmother Dies
Knabe auf einem Grab schlafend [Boy Sleeping on a Grave] (1803) was designed by Caspar David Friedrich. The wood block was cut by Christian Friedrich. I had initially planned on having a professor looking at him, but decided to use the image of Bella Guerin instead. Guerin was the first woman to earn a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne in 1883. She earned her Master of Arts in 1885. She would work as a suffragist, anti-conscriptionist, and political activist, Guerin worked as a teacher.
You Forgot I Was a Seed
This is one of my “self portraits.” Generally, when I do a self portrait, I use an image appropriate to the photomontage instead of an image of myself. In doing so, I am not equating myself with the image. For example, I do not equate myself with Christ even though I use the image of Jesus from Sasha Schneider's Triumph of Darkness (1896). The photomontage also incorporates a botanical illustration of a navy bean from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (1902), a nineteenth century medical illustration of a human heart, and some more modern photographs of beans. I choose navy beans because land purchased by my grandparents which is now owned by my father and aunt is being used to raisy navy beans. The Greek on the bottom is a quote from Dinos Christianopoulos: "You did anything to bury me, but you forgot that I was a seed." Versions of this quotation have been misattributed to a variety of other sources, but the theme is consistent. The fact that Christianopoulos is gay is an added personal connection. Without knowing that I consider this to be a self portrait, the image does carry a powerful Christian message of hope. During life, we may be put down, attacked, or disregarded. There may even be times when others are actively trying to undermine us or worse. But these people forget that we are seeds that can germinate. I was drafting this short artist’s statement a few days after the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had given the instruction to "silence [journalist] Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible."11 We are also a week away from celebrating the Feast of Thomas a Becket who was assassinated after Henry II asked “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest? ?” Who is remembered more? The turbulent priest who was a seed? The man who ordered his murder?
Davidson, Cathy N. 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. Duke University Press, 2006.↩
The administrator has been dead for more than a decade and could have worked at any of the five colleges/universities at which I have taught.↩
Sextan, Anne. “What the Bird With the Human Head Knew.” Complete Poems. Houghton Mifflin, 1984.↩
The image can be found in the British Library, Royal MS 19 B XV fol. 30v.↩
Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 24v., accessible through the British Library.↩
Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet which was first published in 1971 is a classic that goes into detail about socio-political reasons for not eating meating.↩
Beattie, William, William Finden, and William Henry Bartlett. Finden's views of the Ports, Harbour, Watering Places & Coastal scenery of Great Britain. George Virtue: London, 1842.↩
For the purposes of this book an understanding of why I choose this piece of art as an illustration, an understanding of the significance of the Katina ceremony is unnecessary.↩
I co-curated the “Physical and Mental Health in a Global Environment Exhibit” with Jessica Worden-Jones. The online version of the exhibit can be found at http://scholarlyvoices.org/health01/.↩
Ensour, Josie. “CIA has recording of bin Salman giving instructions to 'silence Jamal Khashoggi', Turkish media reports.” The Telegraph. 22 November 2018. Retrieved. 23 November 2018.↩