Fall 2010 Issue

Arts & Culture

Open to interpretation

Camino de Santiago, O’Cebreiro, Spain

In the fall of 2009, mixed media artist Laura Luna embarked on a spiritual, artistic and physically demanding 500-mile, 35-day pilgrimage through northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Located in the northwestern tip of Spain, Santiago de Compostela has long been a destination for millions of pilgrims traveling to the Catedral de Santiago, which houses the remains of Saint James.

Since the 10th century, when the remains were discovered, people have been going on this pilgrimage known as Camino de Santiago. Today, it is the most popular long-distance trail in Europe, and people make the journey by foot, bicycle, horse, car or bus. The route passes through a variety of landscapes and provides extraordinary opportunities for viewing historical sites, rustic Spanish villages, churches and cathedrals.

Luna was joined on the journey by Fine Arts Chair Silvia Lizama, who followed the same route by car (that Luna took on foot) and photographically documented the Camino in one week. The result was the two-person exhibition “Camino De Santiago: Two Perspectives” featured in the Andy Gato Gallery through December 5.

“I have been an artist/photographer for more than 30 years, mainly exhibiting black and white images that are hand colored with photo oils,” Lizama said. “This exhibition was both a departure and challenge from what I have done for years. I decided to try a more documentary approach to my journey and used a digital camera instead of film to bring the Camino to the Barry community.”

A native of Cuba, Luna comes from a “tradition of female craftsmen.” She works with a wide variety of mediums ranging from ceramics, bronze and wood to paper and canvas, creating both two-and three-dimensional works that explore the process of “changes and transitions and its effects on individual and collective levels.”

The only medium she does not use is photography, making for an interesting pairing with artist/photographer Lizama – one that Lizama says can be summed up as “one journey, two perspectives: interpretation and documentation.”

The Department of Theology partly funded Luna’s expedition, while Lizama was the recipient of an Ambassador Jean Wilkowski Fellowship, which is awarded to Barry faculty pursuing international research.