Wayne State’s Elaine L. Jacob Gallery is hosting the virtual < LIGHT HOUSE + > exhibition.

< LIGHT HOUSE + >features artwork created during the COVID-19 pandemic by Chae Eunmi, Hye Rim Lee, Hyong Nam Ahn, Jinwon Chang, Lee Seung Hee and Sun K. Kwak.

The exhibition began in person, with the work of 70 artists on display at the Waterfall Mansion & Gallery in New York City from July to September 2021. The six artists were then selected for the virtual exhibition featured at WSU.

Makar and Director Thomas Pyrzewski organized the virtual exhibition in collaboration with Kate Shin, executive curator at the Waterfall Mansion & Gallery.

Shin said she discovered the idea for  < LIGHT HOUSE + > during the pandemic because she wanted to bring light during a tough time in New York City. 

Kwak is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist. One of her showcased works includes “Open-Air Space Drawing: A Tale of an Eagle,” which is an autobiographical sculpture piece Kwak created during the pandemic based on a 2017 drawing.

“The drawing was inspired by a story of an eagle overcoming hardship, soaring higher for the second chapter of its life,” Kwak said. “As a visual response to the story, I created an abstract drawing of an eagle that soars above the storm and braces nature and people as a metaphor for breaking through and liberating.”

The work of these six artists was also featured at the Venice Biennale Architettura 2021 (Venice Biennial Architecture 2021) through the Waterfall Mansion & Gallery’s partnership with San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice.

WSU preparator Laura Makar said the concept behind the exhibition is how to use artwork as a beacon of hope during the pandemic.

“Art can be very healing as a creative process,” Makar said. “That's what COVID has been so beautiful for, not just the fine artists, but musicians and theatre — you can use this digital realm to really expose yourself to help so many people.

Kwak said she is grateful to continue creating art amidst pandemic hardships and to share her work with others through < LIGHT HOUSE + >.

“It’s like light in the midst of darkness,” Kwak said. 

Shin said that this exhibition is an opportunity to uplift art in society.

“I hope that the partnership with Wayne State University can encourage and motivate a lot of galleries and institutions to collaborate and really work together to showcase the power of art and culture,” Shin said. “We really need to work together to reposition the perception of culture as capital — and that's my personal vision.” 

< LIGHT HOUSE + > is available for viewing virtually through Jan. 19, 2022.

Emily Roth is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at fv0765@wayne.edu.

Cover photo provided by WSU Galleries.