Art Exhibit Captures Emotions

The “e2e Exhibit” being held at the Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Art Gallery starting Mon., Sept. 12, offers a unique way to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, on September 11 and the millions affected by the attacks.
In this exhibit, large blackboards were placed on the gallery walls where visitors will see them as they enter. They will have the option to write notes or draw on the boards in reflection.
Along with the boards, there will also be a privacy box provided for those who are not comfortable with expressing themselves publicly.
Claudia Sbrissa, an Associate Professor in the Fine Arts department, has put together this exhibit to give people the opportunity to express themselves regarding the tragic events that took place a decade ago, and  encourages everyone to participate in this diverse experience of expression.
“I would like this installation to be an opportunity for people to share their thoughts on the events of 9/11,” she said. “Whether they choose to write, draw or scribble on the boards or write a note anonymously, I hope this platform will provide a space for them to express themselves freely.”
Through this exhibit, Sbrissa said she wants people to be able to say what they haven’t been able to say since the attacks took place. “I feel like I’m setting a stage for people to come in and complete the piece,” she said.
Sbrissa went on to explain how the chalk that will be used on the blackboards was also a form of symbolization in this exhibit.
“The white chalk is meant to rupture that stillness to bring light to the darkness” she said. “I also wanted to use chalk since it leaves a powdery residue on one’s hands and deposits dust piles when used. The chalk’s materiality connects to the amounts of dust that covered everything after the collapse of the towers.”
Sbrissa said she chose to use blackboards in the display to set a specific feeling to the room. “I chose the color black for the boards for its symbolic connotations,” she said. “And to create a tone that is decorous and reserved.”
The term “e2e” comes from graffiti, meaning to cover a wall from end to end. Her inspiration behind this display was from a conversation with Parvez Mohsin, the gallery director at the University, and artist Robert Gerhard. At the time, Sbrissa had been curating an exhibit, “Muslim-American, American/Muslim: Portrait of a Brooklyn Masjid,” at the Manhattan campus.
“Our discussion turned to the events of 9/11 and our recollections of that day,” Sbrissa said. “I thought it was important with all the activities centering around the 10-year anniversary, to give our St. John’s community an opportunity to express their thoughts on the matter.”
It  was this conversation that led Sbrissa to come up with a series of thoughts on how to go about getting people to express themselves. “The conversation with Robert and Parvez triggered the idea which began formulating during the conversation” said Sbrissa. “Over the next few weeks or so, I began thinking about how I wanted to go about creating the piece.  It took about a week to finalize these thoughts.”
Sbrissa said the “e2e” should provide a good place for people to open up their feelings. “This exhibit is a way of providing a safe place for people to say whatever they want to say, without restrictions or boundaries.”