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Fulbright Scholar Builds Environmental Awareness Through Art

January 17, 2018

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Professor of Art Sarah Haviland will investigate ancient and contemporary human-bird imagery and myth in Taiwanese culture, as the college’s latest Fulbright Scholar. 

Professor Haviland will travel to Taiwan in August 2018 and teach an intensive workshop that fall at the Taipei National University for the Arts.

“As a Fulbright Creative Arts Scholar-Teacher, I will work with students to build a sculptural artwork with environmental focus,” Haviland says. “Among other areas of focus, the students will examine the human-avian bond through multiple lenses, including that of Taiwan’s indigenous people, multi-ethnic history, landscape and bird-watching tourism."

Professor Sarah Haviland

The workshop will culminate in an art installation reflecting natural and recycled materials, as well as found objects.

“During my stay, I will also connect with environmental and art groups in Taiwan,” Haviland says. "There has been a strong public and governmental response to conservation issues in Taiwan—it's a small island and very beautiful—including a movement of environmental artists who have participated through their work."

In Summer 2015, Haviland was one of nine artists featured in the 2015 International Environment Art Project at the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology in Keelung, Taiwan. That exhibit included her piece, “Black Kite Bench,” based on an endangered local bird. Human-bird mythology is also present in Haviland’s mesh sculpture, “I Saw the Wind Within Her,” on permanent exhibit in the ninth-floor study hall in BMCC’s Fiterman Hall.

Another Haviland exhibit, Rise Above, presented in 2017 a sequence of five human-bird figures sculpted with galvanized wire mesh, and displayed at the Flatiron Prow Art Space in New York City. “The materials in Taiwan will differ from those industrial materials, but the image will relate to my ongoing research into human-bird imagery found in the history and religion of many cultures,” she says.

The exploration of theme and materials is a process Haviland shares in her sculpture classes at BMCC and in special projects in which she mentors aspiring artists. “I want to give my students the experience of using new materials to create an artwork that expresses their unique vision,” she says.


Related article: Fulbright Faculty Raise BMCC’s Global Profile


Image: Professor Sarah Havilland with one of her sculptures (photo by Richard Kranzler)

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  • Professor of Art Sarah Haviland receives 2018-19 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant
  • In Fall 2018, she will teach at Taipei National University for the Arts
  • Her students will create sculptures with environmental focus and reflect themes including human-bird imagery and myth

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