Featured watercolor artist to visit, teach class

Steve Cavallo’s art exhibit in FAC on March 27, 2017. The exhibit portrays women who have been abused or mistreated. The name of the piece is “Breaking the Silence: Where Have You Been, My Daughter?”

Sally Wegert

The International Year of South Korea is bringing watercolor artist Steve Cavallo to WKU on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cavallo’s work is currently on display in an exhibit titled “Breaking the Silence: Where Have You Been, My Daughter?” in the corridor gallery of the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit features visual portrayals of comfort women, a term referring to the thousands of Korean women displaced and forced into sex slavery during the Japanese military occupancy of their country in World War II.

According to his artist statement, Cavallo’s artwork has often “gravitated towards the issues of the abused, the misguided and the oppressed.” He thoroughly researched the topic of comfort women and spent time with surviving victims of human trafficking at the House of Sharing in Gwang Ju, South Korea while painting the Comfort Women series.

“A common thread throughout my work has been a focus on ‘the victim’ – the innocent person who had fallen prey to the cruelty of life,  but has traveled on,” Cavallo said.

The topic of comfort women is particularly sensitive for Miwon Choe, a South Korean native, who is an associate professor of art education. Choe became interested in these women’s stories while she was a college student and said they were a main influence in her decision to be an educator as she came to an understanding of what she wanted to do.

“It feels a little like post-traumatic syndrome, even though it happened a long time ago,” Choe said. “These are young girls, and they weren’t as lucky as I was when I was in college. The only fault of these girls is that they were poor.”

Choe said these women’s stories touched her profoundly, and she hopes students will be able to “see a little bit of their own reflection” in the women and their experiences represented in Cavallo’s watercolor paintings.

There will be an artist presentation at 5:30 p.m. in room 156 in FAC followed by an exhibition reception at 6:30 p.m. in the main gallery on Wednesday. The following day, Cavallo will be teaching a watercolor painting class from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in FAC room 425.

The class is free and open to the campus community. All materials necessary to participate will be provided, but it is asked that participants bring a “memory piece,” such as a photograph, to inspire their watercolor painting for the session.

 Reporter Sally Wegert can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]