Art Crossing Cultural Boundaries in ESL Classes

Each semester, English As A Second Language classes visit LUAG and integrate art into their programs. After all, art is a universal language and can cross cultural boundaries.

Below are a few fruitful writings by ESL students from a class led by Mary Newbegin. After an outdoor sculpture tour the students were asked write an essay on a sculpture that they found of interest.

“The Temple” by Mary Ann Unger
Sufwan Al-Subaihawi

20150429_130814Lehigh students enjoy artwork everyday without attending museums. The campus is filled with artwork by prominent artists. One of the interesting artworks is The Temple by Mary Ann. This sculpture represents the value of originality. During a heavy storm, a tree fell on this sculpture causing terrible damage to it. Despite the serious damage, Lehigh Univserity decided to renovate this sculpture instead of buying or replacing it with another one.

The process of repairing required to move it to Boston. A specialist who worked with the artist carried out the required repairs and brought it back to Lehigh University.

This sculpture has an opening on its side. When a visitor enters through this opening, the inside part gives the visitor a scene of spirituality. Just by looking at this artwork, its orange color and its round edges fit perfectly into the environment of Lehigh University. In fact, I like the mixture of the orange and the green colors. This reminds me of my parent’s garden. Most trees in this garden are bitter orange. When these trees carry orange into their branches, the mixture of green and orange color would be attractive.

Mary Ann, a famous artists from New Jersey, constructed this sculpture in 1987. She was known for her large scale abstract art. This sculpture was a gift by Philip and Muriel Berman to Lehigh University. The visitors of the campus could see this sculpture in Asa Packer campus.

“In the State of Rejuvenescence” by David Ceruili
Saif Watheq Mohammad Ali

20150429_130213Among all the sculptures that I saw, the one that represented the most stunning art for me was “In the State of Rejuvenscence,” built by Veruili and installed in May 1997. Actually, I was surprised by this one because it has a special meaning for life or perhaps for students especially. In fact, it was constructed from five inclined and spiral columns, and each column has a particular name from one of the Greek’s Gods and Muses. The yellow one has the name Apollo “the God of Music”, the aqua one is Terpsichore “the Muse of Dance”, the brown is Hephaestos “the God of Visual”, Melpomene “the Muse of Tragedy” is the blue one, and finally Thalia “the Muse of Comedy” is the pink one.

This lively sculpture represents the art, and perhaps refers to academic life. The location of this sculpture and these meaningful and profound five terms (Music, Dance, Visual Art, Tragedy, and  Comedy) could not be by chance, it might refer to the student’s life through study in Lehigh University. These five terms could show that all these profound activities can be gained in Lehigh University. Music, Dance, and Comedy, playful activities, Tragedy, through curious and serious study, and Visual Art, through fact and scientific benefits that assist the student for his future life.

Sculpture Tour
Mohammad Redha Aliakbar

(While touring the Outdoor Sculpture Collection, this ESL student was inspired by a sculpture not in the collection, but very visible on campus –  a student designed sculpture, which has a functional element for the community)

20150429_130756The sculptures at Lehigh University are very valuable. They have a lot of meaning and memories in the Lehigh community. The sculpture tour with Mr. Khalil was very interesting with a lot of information about these symbols in the university. All the sculptures were beautiful and valuable but I will present one of them. This sculpture as shown in the figure was a gift to use to post announcements.

This sculpture is made simple and personally but has a lot of meaning especially for engineers. It is beautiful, flat and the students at Lehigh University use it to present their advertising in a new method.

The design of this sculpture has some properties. It can resist the storms and winds. It is made with multi-angles in different direction with same elevation. This sculpture is not valuable like others at Lehigh University but it has properties related to my field (structure engineering).

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