Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Artists and Poets Respond to the Pandemic (16)

For today's selections from the online exhibition "Artists and Poets Respond to the Pandemic," I have paired an excerpt from a poem by Robert McDowell with an artwork by Patrick Seruwu. Robert's poem addresses and is inspired by the word "Love"; Patrick's artwork is inspired by the word "Faith".

I thought I knew       I thought I knew /
A dozen times what love is /
& who was bringing it up hill /
Like water in a bucket /
One by one they collapse /
Among the poppies saying /
I am tired bearing love all this way / [. . . .]
~ from "Love"

Patrick Seruwu, "Faith"
Collage on Canvas
73 cm x 103 cm


Patrick Seruwu is a self-taught Ugandan artist who currently resides in Johannesburg, South Africa. An art enthusiast since childhood, Patrick participated in community art competitions. After relocating to South Africa, he was fortunate to meet the Ugandan-born, South Africa-based artist, activist, and arts patron Benon Luaaya, who mentored Seruwu until his death in 2019.

Well-received by the art community, Patrick's work has been featured in group exhibitions in Johannesburg, displayed at corporate locations, and featured in several art fairs. He had his first solo show in February 2020 at Lizamore & Associates Gallery in Johannesburg.

Robert McDowell is a poet, author, educator, activist for women's rights and advancement, public speaker, storyteller, and mentor. He has written more than a dozen books, including the forthcoming Sweet Wolf: New & Selected Poems (Spring 2021) and The World Next to This One: Poems (Salmon Press, 2014). Co-author of two volumes of literary theory, Robert also is co-translator of a story collection by Ota Pavel and the editor of three anthologies. In addition to teaching at the college and university level, conducting conferences and workshops for writers, and leading retreats, Robert is the founder of the new Homestead Lighthouse Press and founding publisher and editor of Story Line Press. He also is the co-creator of The Poets' Prize and the Rural Readers Project.

St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Arlington, Va.), which supports the arts ministry I lead, is hosting the multi-part online exhibition. On the church's new Instagram page, you'll find other images of the exhibition artwork; these are augmented daily. Websites and other information about all the participating artists and poets can be found at "Artists' Biographical Information" and "Poets' Biographical Information," respectively. Some of the artworks, including Patrick's, are available to purchase; for information, see "Purchase List for Artworks."

Note: A selection of Patrick Seruwu's artworks, including paintings and collages, appeared in my Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life in December 2019.

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