2021 Virtual Exhibits, Campus Events

December 9, 2021 to june 30, 2021

Tsi Kiontahsawen / In the Beginning

The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University is pleased to announce the purchase of an extraordinary quilt by Akwesasne Mohawk artist Iakonikonriiosta. Produced in conjunction with the fall 2020 North Country Art, Land, and Environment Summit, sponsored by SLU’s Arts Collaborative, the quilt illustrates part of the Haudenosaunee Creation Story.

Iakonikonriiosta writes that the quilt depicts “the moment the spiritual Water Birds and Water Animals watched as the Sky Woman, heavy with child, gave thanks and placed primordial soil filled with life onto the Great Turtle’s shell.” The artist also writes, “The One Dish One Spoon wampum belt depicted in the middle of the quilt reminds us that all of Earth’s resources are to be shared by all life, not to be hoarded, not to be fought over, and not to be over used. One takes what is needed and no more, always ensuring that there are resources left for those that follow.”

Measuring 96 x 86 inches and made of cotton, wool, leather, and polyester thread, the quilt was conceptualized and designed by Iakonikonriiosta of Akwesasne Territory and machine-quilted by Robynne Dorion of Cornwall, Ontario.

Iakonikonriiosta is a mother and grandmother of a large family. She currently works at the Akwesasne Museum and quilts as an expression of love and life. She uses her quilts to share her insights, often speaking to gatherings of people interested in art, quilts, or indigenous culture.

Gallery Director Catherine Tedford states that the quilt is one of the most significant art acquisitions in the 30 years she has worked at St. Lawrence and an excellent example of Haudenosaunee culture represented artistically using innovative sewing techniques. The quilt will be displayed on campus to be shared with the community and to be used for teaching and research.


Iakonikonriiosta is a mother and grandmother of a large family. She currently works as the manager for the Native North American Traveling College in Akwesasne and quilts as an expression of love and life. She uses her quilts to share her insights, often speaking to gatherings of people interested in art, quilts, or indigenous culture. She grew up in Syracuse, New York, and moved to Akwesasne as a young woman to support the Mohawk Nation in the ongoing struggle to maintain a strong presence in the north country.

Iakonikonriiosta was one of the founding teachers of the Akwesasne Freedom School and continues to support the school as a grandmother. She lives with her husband in Akwesasne, and he supports her artwork by adding depth to the designs she brings to life. They both love watching their family grow.

BLM + SLU: Moving Forward, a Virtual Exhibition
December 15, 2020 to June 30, 2021

In the days after 9/11, the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery put up 15-foot long sheets of blank brown Kraft paper in the “hallway gallery,” a space usually dedicated to more traditional exhibitions of framed artworks. The St. Lawrence community was invited to contribute words, pictures, newspaper and magazine articles, and anything else that mattered to them as a way to reflect upon and share their responses to the attacks. A collaborative “installation” grew over time as a way to help students, faculty, and staff process and document the rapidly changing world around them.

Today, people struggle to make sense of the cruel and brutal killing of George Floyd while in police custody, an event which has sparked protests here in the United States and abroad. The COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed the deep racial and economic disparities that exist in the U.S. health care system for African-American, Latinx, and Native American communities.

December 9, 2020 to June 30, 2021

The inspiration for this exhibition arose, like it does for so many working mothers, in my living room. I am fortunate to have two college-aged children who brought many awake, kind, and socially-conscious youth into our home over the years. As a bystander to their conversations, I often noticed how scared they were for their future and how heavy the world weighed on them at a young age. They were raised with the awareness of climate change and the reality of school shootings. They came of age during the Trump administration and watched as our nation became ever more divided. They witnessed yet another resurgence of white supremacy in the public eye, and the resulting outbreaks of racially motivated violence. In the midst of all this, they have tried to launch themselves into adulthood during a global pandemic.

Youth is supposed to be the period when one envisions what the world could be like. So many of our most pivotal societal changes are driven by youth, who refuse to tolerate what is, and insist on something better. What would happen, however, if that did not occur? What does our society become if our youth lose their optimism, if their fear and grief get the best of them as they survey what lies ahead? More conversations in my living room tended in this direction than I was comfortable with. Now, in addition to managing the ordinary challenges of growing up and the particular concerns of our current economic and social climate, young adults are also trying to manage ecological grief and climate anxiety.

Fortunately, I also saw in these young people genuine kindness, concern for community, caring for the planet and desire to act. This FYP, Seeding Hope: Environmentalism, Sustainability, and the Reclamation of the Sacred, was born out of my desire to offer similar students at SLU a refuge to talk about the good stuff. I wanted them to see that there are many solutions out there, and people tirelessly working toward the better future they hope for. I wanted them to know that they could be a part of that. I also wanted them to have a space where it was okay to talk about their concerns and to mourn together some of what they have lost. The work you see here, was generated by a group of students that has risen to many challenges. They worked as a team to solve problems. They endured quarantines. They supported each other through a divisive election and uncertainty about how their academic careers might unfold in the face of a pandemic. They have been profoundly resilient and, for many of them, making art has played a role in that resilience.

Seeding Hope is an artistic rendering of the work we have done together in this class. Each student has completed a final project of their own choosing, which drew from some aspect of the course material. Some found inspiration in the freedoms of nature during the pandemic. Others worked out feelings of love, grief, gratitude, rage, and hope with their pieces. Some wanted to use a particular art medium to express some aspect of their environmentalism. You will also find solo and group projects here. One, a recorded version of the Woody Guthrie song “Hoping Machine”, performed by Bee Children, has new verses written by the students. We have also included some solo work from the students’ experience of their “sacred spot”, a place on campus with which they were asked to form a relationship over time.

What you see here is students working out some of what it means to be a young adult during this tumultuous time. One student, in an early version of her artist’s statement, said that she really hoped that older generations would “listen” to the art for the essence of what is really like for her generation, the concerns about the planet they live with every day. It is my hope that all of us will “listen” well to what we find here and allow it to move us to act towards the creation of the kinder, more just, more sustainable future these students long for.

-Rebecca Rivers


Alejandra Altamirano
Sergey Avery
Sajida Bibi
Alyana Contant
Iain Corkhill
Lydia Fedorowich
Erica Kurash
Richard O’Keefe
Savanna Stuhr
Kelsey Tejada
Wesley Wyatt 


Bee Hotel
Sacred spots
Songwriting with John Collins and Bee Children


XXV TO LIFE – A Digital Art Exhibition
January 25, 2021 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery is pleased to present XXV TO LIFE – A Digital Art Exhibition organized by the Fresh Paint Gallery, Montreal, Canada, and celebrating 25 years of the Under Pressure International Graffiti Festival. For the digital exhibition, organizers invited selected artists to submit art pieces expressing their own experiences with the graffiti festival over the years.

Founded in Montréal in 1996 by graffiti writers SEAZ and Flow, Under Pressure is the oldest urban culture festival still active today. Its mandate is to support community and urban culture, contributing to the development and radiance of graffiti and all elements of hip hop on a local and international scale. Managed by a team of volunteers devoted to hip hop culture, Under Pressure is committed to recreating the vibe of New York City block parties from the ’70s. The organizers, graffiti writers, street artists, djs, emcees, and street dancers do it for the love and dedication to roots of the culture and continue to work to support and maintain the community through their participation in the festival and all other activities and events connected to the Under Pressure family.

Follow the artists on Instagram: @up_mtl @freshpaintgallery.
Keep your eyes peeled at www.underpressure.ca.


Under Pressure organizer Melissa Proietti has been teaching as an adjunct professor in the First Year Program at St. Lawrence University since 2018. Her courses have often focused on graffiti culture and street art as methods for social engagement and cultural representation. She has worked in close partnership with the Brush Art Gallery to bring in guest speakers and artists, including KEL1, SEAZ, and HAKS180. She and gallery director Catherine Tedford have collaborated on exhibitions at Fresh Paint Gallery in Montréal and at the Brush Art Gallery dating back to 2010.

Adi Khavous is a visual artist who goes by the name AdidA Fallen Angel. An illustrator, photographer, street artist, and musician, AdidA has been working with the Fresh Paint Gallery and the Under Pressure festival for about a decade now, documenting, making art installations, and helping with exhibitions and events.

Ana Veas has been working as a lead curator and organizer of events at the Fresh Paint Gallery from its very early days. She has organized more than 50 different art exhibitions at the gallery and for the Under Pressure Graffiti Festival as well as Queens Creation, an annual event that celebrates the contribution of women to urban culture, with emphasis on visual art, dance, and music.   


Senbazuru at SLU: 1,000 Paper Cranes for Health and Healing

In Japan, folded origami paper cranes are called orizuru, in which birds’ “wings carry souls up to paradise.” A thousand folded paper cranes strung together is called a senbazuru.

The classic Japanese story Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes describes the life of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who was exposed to radiation during the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After being diagnosed with leukemia, Sadako began to create senbazuru, inspired by the Japanese legend that said she would be granted a wish upon completion. In the story, Sadako managed to fold 644 cranes before she died, though friends and family helped fulfill her dream.

Associated with health and healing, folded origami cranes are also used as symbols of peace. Sadako’s original paper cranes have been displayed in Japan at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and in the United States at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, the U.S. National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and the Museum of Tolerance.

Students were invited to fold paper cranes as a collective symbol of hope, healing, and peace during difficult times. A gift of 800 cranes from a woman in California also added the project. She wrote, “Folding the cranes did bring me peace and calmness during such a crazy and uncertain time. Now that I’ve reached my 1,000, I see light at the end of the tunnel and know better days are ahead.” The cranes have been installed in the Owen D. Young Library as a way to honor and thank those in the community who have had to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery provided origami materials at the main desk in the Sullivan Student Center and to students in Kirk Douglas.

Please send photos of your folded paper cranes to brushgallery@stlawu.edu! We plan to post photographs to the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Posting to your own IG page? Be sure to use the hashtags #origamicranes and #sluartgallery.

The paper cranes project at St. Lawrence University is inspired by the German artist Michael Pendry’s art installation of thousands of paper doves at the Washington National Cathedral on display through May 2021. For more information, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b1i9OFUvmY.

How to make a paper crane:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux1ECrNDZl4