In August, I had the opportunity to experience the paintings of Linda Hemlick, assistant professor of art education in the College of Education and Human Development. It was truly an experience that stayed with me long after I left the studio. As I viewed the artwork (painting using a torchlight, or as the artist explained, painting with fire), and listened to Prof. Hemlick discuss what inspired her visit to Prague, I realized that this was more than an exhibit of paintings. The work captures moments of oppression, fear, bondage, and joy. As she describes it below, her work is about seeing love where you least expect. I left Serendipity studio feeling a sense of calm and peace.
“Walking through this experience and creating these paintings was an act of love. In my visual exploration of Friedl Dicker Brandeis who taught art to children while interred together in the Nazi camp of Terezin outside of Prague during World War II, I found love. Brandeis had a love for art and a love for teaching, and she had a love for children that enabled her to defy the confines of the camp. When I walked where she walked, stood where she stood and taught, and viewed the artwork the children made under those circumstances, it was obvious to me that love was in the room with them. Love was at the heart of their creations. Friedl, through her experience as an artist and art teacher, saw firsthand that meaningful creative artmaking could see them through. Could lift these young people, if only for moments at a time, out of the horrific circumstances they found themselves in. These paintings are the result of my creative exploration of the extraordinary love she gave to this work. If teaching art with love and passion could do that then, it certainly can do that now.”