Two Works from A&M-Kingsville Adjunct Art Professor Featured in Brownsville Heritage Complex Women’s Exhibit
KINGSVILLE - March 23, 2007
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Bismi-Allah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, B’shem Elohim, ha-Rachaman,
The mix media and ceramics work of Fulden Sara-Wissinger, adjunct art professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, are among the selected pieces that make up a special exhibit at the Brownsville Heritage Complex.
In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Brownsville Historical Association created the exhibit, “Between Myth and Reality: The Image of Women,” featuring eight female artists from South Texas exploring the image of women in family, local, regional and national history through art, folklore and popular culture.
Wissinger’s featured works are “Ottoman Legacy,” a mix media piece from her “Tulip Series,” and an earthenware ceramic piece entitled, “Bismi-Allah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, B’shem Elohim, ha-Rachaman, V’ha-Rachum,” which translates to, “In the name of Allah (God), Most Gracious, Most Merciful, The Lord thy God is a Merciful God, Deuteronomy 4:31.”
Jessica Villescaz, curator of the exhibit and part of special collections and archives at the Brownsville Heritage Complex, first knew of Wissinger’s work when they were students at the University of Texas-Pan American. She has since kept up with her work and thought of her specifically when selecting artists to be featured in the exhibit.
“Fulden’s works reflect her ethnic identity so well,” said Villescaz, referencing the artist’s background of Eastern European from Yugoslavia mixed with Asian from Turkmenistan. “‘The Ottoman Legacy’ demonstrates the influence of her heritage, while the earthenware ceramics are wonderfully fired, with the rich colors that are indicative of her work as a ceramicist.”
Wissinger notes that in addition to her ethnic background, she also was influenced by where she was raised. “I grew up in Istanbul, a cosmopolitan melting pot with 15 million souls. In the broadest sense Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul bridges, the Mystical East and the Pragmatic West.
“As a person of mixed culture, I am fascinated by other cultures. Living in one of the worlds most exotic cultural crossroads created in me a delight for such diversity, and a hunger to venture into the world to experience ever more.”
Wissinger said of the two works in the exhibit, “In these two specific pieces, I used my Eastern European and Middle Eastern mixed culture, my graphic design background—my bachelor’s degree in graphic design is from Marmara University Fine Arts Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey—Arabic calligraphy, my religion of Islam and folk superstitions.
“I have great respect for the thousands of years of Turkish history. In particular, I respond to the glorious centuries of the Ottoman Empire. Tulip forms used in my pieces directly symbolize this. Ottoman tile work has been a very strong force in my work.”
Wissinger said of being selected for the Brownsville display, “I am proud to be included in this exhibition as a representative of modern Muslim women who are emerging from an oppressive past.”
The exhibit will be on view in the Aiken Education Room of the Brownsville Heritage Complex until April 15, 2007. More information is available at 956-541-5560.
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