Arnav Borborah, Furkan Cakir, Rithi Chauhan, Paige Dadika, Aidan Holeman, Ved Jain, Lauren Johnson, Prachi Lad, Eric Lee, Meera Patel, Ryan Smith, Christopher Tai, Aayushi Vyas, Linda Zamrowski, Julianna Zhang
Facilitator: Charles Keeton
Pieces of ‘R’ Community
Photographic collage, 20×30 in.
Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program
Honors Colloquium Section H1
A place is not complete without the presence of the people within it. This work highlights the vibrance that only people can bring to our community. The artists convey this by creating a contrast between the places of New Brunswick in black and white and the people of Rutgers shown in color. Take a closer look to see the individual experiences of the artists’ and reflect on how your own align.
In his address to the University Senate on Sept. 25, 2020, President Holloway stated that “a university should aspire to be a beloved community.” Here is how we brought together our beloved community through our artwork…
From a distance the image is a blur of photos but as you get closer you can see all of the intricate pieces that work together to create a piece that highlights the contrast between a community that exemplifies Rutgers culture with faces of vibrancy and a community that is colorless without such. The selection process of the images we’ve chosen to include forced us to deepen our understanding of a community. From an entire album we honed in on images that elicited a response asking ourselves questions like “which images hold that sense of liveliness that we want to express?” “which images show off Rutgers campus for its culture as opposed to any college campus?” Keeping these questions and many more in mind allowed us to construct a piece that we can confidently say represents a beloved community. -Rithi Chauhan
Not all communities are the same. Distinct experiences, challenges, and obstacles shape up a community. Our interactions, conversations, and relationships enable collaboration in order to achieve a common goal. Consequently, our community can then flourish into a more sophisticated, unique place. -Furkan Cakir
Due to the diversity within Rutgers it was difficult to fully define what, as a community, we all have in common. The only true answer is Rutgers, and the physical places we inhabit. From there, our experiences are entirely our own, and so we attempted to create a piece that represented what was universal, as well as what was personal. -Paige Dadika
Throughout the process of creating our art piece, we pondered the idea of what a beloved community at Rutgers represented. We knew that diversity and inclusion of all of its members would be our top priority. However, due to the large size of our school, it was proven to be a difficult task. In our collage, we took snapshots of our classmates to resemble our experiences amongst the many places of Rutgers. This is our story and hope to represent the unity that Rutgers entails. -Prachi Lad
The collage shows a small portion of the people and places that we fondly cherish in our school. Even though all of our experiences couldn’t be shared through this work, it represents what we love about our community, and we hope to portray our shared endearment for Rutgers. -Ved Jain
In our collaborative process in creating this collage, we as a group were able to develop a better understanding of the varying facets and experiences that define Rutgers. The variation in the types of images and people represented show how we all have differing origins yet can still come together as a beloved community with shared goals. -Arnav Borborah
Rutgers is a constantly-shifting community of people, where each individual is uniquely important. No one experience can define Rutgers, because Rutgers in itself is a culmination of multivariable people and the new, different ideas they bring to the conversation. Although this piece wouldn’t be able to begin to define truly, wholly what Rutgers is, it shows, at least, a piece of what Rutgers means to us. -Julianna Zhang
The collage synthesizes how a group of Rutgers students define our beloved community.
“[There is a] need, often an uncomfortable one, to listen to others with whom you may have some deep disagreement. In the act of authentic listening, one is demonstrating that the disputants have something more valuable in common: an acknowledgement that they both belong to the same community and that they both share the obligation to take care of it.”
When tasked with creating an image that encompasses the community as a whole, we knew that there would be no way to include everyone and everything. There were disagreements about what was essential to include and how we should portray it, but in the end this piece is a result of compromise, as is the community it represents. President Holloway’s recognition that a community will not always be cohesive is reflected in the battle for attention that is occurring between the images in this piece. Just as the images come together to create the larger “R,” the artists had to come together to portray, to the best of their ability, a beloved community. This is a reflection of the everyday compromise that members of a community must engage in in order to recognize commonalities and work towards solidarity. -Lauren Johnson
We had a really difficult time articulating what a community is, especially when it comes to Rutgers because it spans three cities, on campus, off campus, students, faculty, places, events, alumni, (insert your name here), etc. It is nearly impossible to include all parts of the community under one single definition. When we spent time pulling apart our own experiences, we were able to come up with some characteristics that helped convey what a “beloved community” feels like:
The definition of beloved community is all dependent upon those who belong to it. Through the vast network of students, faculty, alumni, and all others connected to this institution, there are so many ways that people can take on this definition. Whether at a sporting event, a dining hall, in the classroom, or just walking around campus, a beloved community has many ways of portraying itself to those that play a role in it. Ours here at Rutgers University is a special one as every person can contribute to its overarching definition. -Aidan Holeman
What a beloved community means at large varies from person to person. One thing consistent with all of us creators was the importance of people in a community. We defined that while places and landmarks provide an opportunity for people to come together, the locations are mostly irrelevant. So, in crafting our art display, we recognized important landmarks of Rutgers in black and white, but had the people in vibrant colors in the shape of an “R”. This symbolizes how people turn places into a beloved community. -Ryan Smith
Much like what President Holloway recited in his speech, a community with no differences would be a “boring community.” This was a component we highly considered when defining the parameters of our project. In our project, we highlighted the vibrance and life that is brought to places when the people themselves diversify them with their own individual experiences. At Rutgers, the harmony between the people and the memories attached to those specific experiences or places truly help to juxtapose the otherwise gray and dull campus life of what could’ve been. It truly resembles how we are the main proponents in making a community beloved and cherished. -Meera Patel
A beloved community can be in any size, shape, or form; it all depends on what personally feels like a community to you. Rutgers is a large beloved community filled with so many smaller beloved communities. Every school at Rutgers is a community, every sports program, every campus, and all together in the cities of New Brunswick and Piscataway we are. Every student or member of the community has led a different life up until this point, but together at Rutgers we are having so many shared experiences that create a special bond. I think that idea is what makes Rutgers a beloved community; seeing how such different paths can lead to the same final destination that we can all enjoy together and thrive in. -Linda Zamrowski
A beloved community is made up of both shared experiences and landmarks, as well as unique perspectives. The backdrop for the ‘R’ is composed of black and white photos of special locations seen around Rutgers campus, and they work to convey a feeling of familiarity and comfort, as these are the places we see daily. Composing the ‘R,’ however, is the heart of our community, what truly brings it to life. The colored pictures celebrate the diversity of our perspectives, and how they all come together to form the Rutgers community. -Christopher Tai