SANCTUARY: A Pop-Up Amateur Photography Show

Juror Statement

Amy Kurtz Lansing, Curator, Florence Griswold Museum

The Florence Griswold Museum’s gallery show “Nothing More American:” Immigration, Sanctuary, and Community, an exhibition by Matthew Leifheit includes contemporary photographs and historic paintings. [3D Tour of Exhibition] The artworks tell the story of immigrant and refugee families who have found sanctuary from deportation or persecution in local churches and in the town of Old Lyme, where they have begun new lives. https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/nothingmoreamerican/
 
When the idea was floated to stage SANCTUARY, a pop-up photography exhibition inspired by the gallery show, little did we know how relevant the theme would become. Submissions for the exhibition opened as news of COVID-19 intensified, and soon, the Museum closed to visitors as social distancing was implemented as a key public health measure for reducing the virus’s spread. Plans for a physical exhibition during the month of May were reconfigured so that we could instead present the photographs online.
 
As we reviewed the photographers’ submissions in early April, it was evident that their works registered the new importance of sanctuary as Americans sheltered at home. Artists entered works that depict the places they feel safe and inspired, as well as the people (and pets) who stimulate their minds and surround them with love. Our horizons have narrowed to our apartments, houses, and yards. The photographers celebrate those environments as well as the hiking trails, beaches, and even travel destinations that have felt like sanctuaries to them. We particularly enjoyed the view of sanctuary reflected through the lenses of high school students, who submitted work as part of an academic assignment. Confinement to home, away from friends and school provided an alternative way to think about their lives.
                                                
Given the intensely felt and moving photographs that were submitted, the decision of which ones to include was not easy. We looked for photos that exemplified the concept of sanctuary as outlined in the call for submissions, taking into account both the imagery and the photographers’ words. Grain, lighting, color, and other technical qualities mattered to us, as did composition and a sense of intention from the photographer in achieving the results on view in each image.
 
While we did not include every submission in what is now an online exhibition, we marveled at the views of nature so many of the photographers captured, and are looking forward to seeking out the gorgeous locations they put before our eyes. Across the 300 photographs that were submitted to our site, nature prevailed as the embodiment of sanctuary, a place for contemplating not only the environment but also the individual, the communal, and the existential. As one of the few places outside our homes that we can explore these days, nature can offer sanctuary to us all through its beauty and dynamic of renewal. As you view SANCTUARY, we hope that you can share in that journey.

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges 

 

All Categories

One with God
Deb Swaney-Jones

City: Ivoryton
State: CT

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: The corner of love and peace where each Sunday you can prayer and take sanctuary. St. Johns Episcopal Church in Essex, CT.
Song of Comfort #2
Anna Terry

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: These photographs represent my sanctuary, which is my love of music and the viola. I wanted to represent the calmness, safety, and peace found in music through images of sheet music and instruments. I used light and shadow, as well as differing perspectives, to portray the importance of music in people's lives and the healing that it brings, because no matter where you are or who you are, music unifies and strengthens. The three images begin with a photograph of sheet music and build to the neck and scroll of a viola, and finally to the whole body of the viola.
Clarity
Charlotte Tuminelli

City: Boston
State: Ma

Medium: RAW file shot with Canon DSLR
Artist Statement: People and nature are my sanctuary. This is my best friend, Meg, shortly after she lost her father and moved to Florida. This felt, to me, like the most sacred of moments. I had to let her be alone with her grief for a little while, and I trailed behind and shot random photos of the beach. We talked for a long time afterward. This was a very tough day, but I like to think she took some solace in the peace of being alone with the waves, and then in the company of our conversation.
guiding light
Ria Vanden Eynde

City: Heverlee
State: Belgium

Medium: photography
Artist Statement: I look for serenity, calmness and comfort as I walk or bike around. I then try to capture that in a snapshot to hold on to the state of mind it induces.

Reflection
Lisa Viele

City: Lebanon
State: CT

Medium: Digital Photograph
Artist Statement: No where else do I feel Sanctuary more deeply than when I am grounded to the earth by the water, with the sun saturating so deeply into my soul that I am left with the pureness of light and darkness. The radiance enlightens my mind. This is the moment of my deep devotion where I feel cherished and protected from the material world.
Seeker
Lisa Viele

City: Lebanon
State: CT

Medium: Digital Photograph
Artist Statement: Sanctuary is not only having a feeling of refuge for yourself but also knowing that those you love experience this peace as well. Though I personally do not find any sense of comfort with a fishing rod in hand, I am honored to share this moment with my husband as he retreats into his meditative state, standing on stone with the only sounds being the surf and the buzz of his line as it flies away into the sunset. The light simplifies his silhouette but yet we both feel vast. That is how I know all is well now.
Sunrise Morning
William Vollers

City: Mystic
State: CT

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: I find peace and serenity in nature especially near or by the ocean.

Sunset Peace
William Vollers

City: Mystic
State: CT

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: I find peace and serenity in nature especially near or by the ocean.

Morning Meditation
William Vollers

City: Mystic
State: CT

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: I find peace, comfort and sanctuary in my meditation practice.

A Safe Place
James Wagner

City: Glastonbury
State: CT

Medium: Photograph
Artist Statement: I chose this picture because the color gold, like sanctuary is precious and should offer a feeling of safety which is represented by the locking door.

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