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Dear Dr. Prima, Dear Chitra, a painting by Craig Hawkins.

VSU art professor set to give art-filled TedX presentation

What does it mean to human?

Craig Hawkins, associate professor of art at VSU, hopes to get the viewers thinking about the question, as he will take stage this Saturday, Feb. 22, in a TedX event. The event will be held in the University Theatre from 1 p.m. to 5: 30 p.m.

Hawkins’ presentation titled “Witnessing to Remarkable Beauty in the Face of Suffering” came to be with a simple question.

“The topic for my TEDx Talk began with the question, ‘Can a painting empower, promote, or exhibit healing from a disfiguring event?’ The transformation of this question into a much larger, empathetic, and meaningful question is the answer you are looking for,” Hawkins said.

Craig Hawkins began his tenured track of associate professor of art at VSU in 2015. Photo courtesy of craighawkinsart.com

Last Fall, Hawkins, also a professional studio artist, submitted the artist statement he wrote for his recent body of work titled, “Beautiful” to the call for TedX submissions.

In 2012, Hawkins learned about an organization supporting burn victims who are all living below the poverty line in India.

The descriptions of these victims, much of them victims of domestic violence, and their stories of pain and strength sparked a flame inside Hawkins and a desire to create works of art that would promote healing by honoring victims and their value through portraits.

In doing so, Hawkins realized that his emotions could not bring upon justice to those impacted, so he decided to paint the suffrage. Whether it was scars or bruises, Hawkins made the victims beautiful, through a blank canvas.

“Beautiful” was selected, allowing Hawkins to become a presenter in TedX and to expand his reach to the audience.

“I’m an artist,” Hawkins said.  “Within the past year I have had the privilege to collaborate with several individuals and participate in a traveling exhibition of what I consider to be the most meaningful body of drawings and paintings I’ve ever created. TEDx VSU is my opportunity to give an account of this body of work along with the questions and the inspiration behind it.”

Hawkins has worked on a painting along with the series of 8-9 other drawings and paintings from May 2018 to December 2018. His most famous, entitled “Dear Rekha,” is of a woman, among many in India, who has suffered painful burns.

Before he gives his presentation, Hawkins has a lot he wants to accomplish.

“To bear witness to the enduring beauty of life and the inability of tragic circumstances to overcome it,” Hawkins said.

Also, Hawkins hopes the audiences takes “a reaffirmation of our inherent value and beauty as human beings and the ability of art to cultivate that truth on a personal level and community level.”

Hawkins graduated from VSU with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2011.

Written by Prince Robinson Jr., Managing Editor. Photo courtesy of www.craighawkinsart.com

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