As the semester comes to a close, University of Tampa art and design students have presented their senior projects.
Symone Hall, 21, had another group of students on her mind: the victims of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Hall, a drawing major, created a charcoal portrait for each victim; 14 students and a teacher, a football coach and an athletic director. Inspired by a class assignment, she was interested in artistically representing young people’s deaths, particularly in her native Bahamas. But after the shootings, Hall was deeply affected. She forfeited traveling over spring break and worked feverishly on the portraits. Just one took eight to nine hours to complete. They’re on display in the senior exhibit “As Far As I Know” at UT’s Scarfone/Hartley Gallery.
The faces are expressive, particularly in the eyes. Each person has a piece of tape over the mouth.
“The purpose of the tape was to make the portrait speak louder,” Hall explained. “The point was to show how they were silenced.”
Splattered inkwash gives the illusion of blood. Hall also included a haunting 18th piece, blank except for the splatter.
“I wanted my portraits to say something more. I want viewers to stop and think about the person, or that they could have potentially lived,” Hall said. “Although they’ve died, I want people to remember them long after the tragedy.”
Hall has reached out to the principal of Stoneman Douglas, Ty Thompson, and the families of the victims, inviting them to Friday’s closing reception.
- Maggie Duffy