Stanford postdoctoral scholars get into the act of art

dish_Akaydin
Doğuş H. Akaydın, postdoctoral scholar in mechanical engineering, created this digital photo titled “Spiral on, Keep Going.”

Under the watchful gaze of NATHAN OLIVEIRA‘s Universal Woman in the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building are 12 works of art informally displayed on easels. This pop-up installation is the brainchild of the art committee of the Stanford University Postdoctoral Association, and it won’t be the last.

Recognizing that postdoctoral scholars do not have an outlet to showcase their artistic creativity on campus, the postdoc association council appointed an art committee, and the Lokey exhibition called Art Exhibit Extravaganza 2013 is its first effort. “We envision that this exhibition will foster interaction between postdocs from different disciplines within Stanford, promote intellectual discussions, inspire the birth of new ideas and possibly interdisciplinary research collaborations,” said co-organizer and art committee chairperson ERMELINDA PORPIGLIA.

The artwork on view, selected from 20 submissions, includes photographs, drawings, paintings, ceramics and mixed media. They will be on view through Friday, Sept. 20.

The Stanford University Postdoctoral Association represents 2,000 postdoctoral scholars whose work encompasses a variety of research fields including humanities, medicine, business, law, education, Earth sciences and engineering. Postdocs and their significant others from all schools and affiliated institutions were encouraged to submit artwork for consideration.

Porpiglia believes the exhibition brings art and science together. “Art invites exploration of the world in unbiased ways and allows us to consider different perspectives,” she said. “Science is very methodical but, although in a different way than art, is also a very creative process. The power of bridging the arts and the sciences is currently underestimated. Collaborations between artists and scientists could in fact lead to innovation and in the long run foster scientific progress. With this exhibition, we would like to prompt our community to think about it.”

Co-organizer and elected co-chair of the association ANTOINE DE MORRÉE sees performance art in the association’s future. “We would love to do an exhibition like this again, but we’d also like to introduce different kinds of art. Many postdocs are involved in dance and theater.”

Keep an eye out for more creative expression from postdocs.

—ROBIN WANDER