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Abu Ghraib portraits catalyst for Linfield Frazee lecture

Daniel Heyman artAcclaimed artist Daniel Heyman, whose recent work includes portraits of former Abu Ghraib detainees, will present the Frazee lecture and panel discussion,  Tuesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College.

The lecture, “Social Justice and Spirituality: The Journey from Art to Action,”  will be followed by a panel discussion to provide additional perspective. Responders include Brian Winkenweder, Linfield associate professor of art history and visual culture, who will provide historic background; Kanaan Kanaan, instructor at Portland State University, who will discuss art in the Muslim community; and Janet Elfers, director of member relations at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, who will offer a contemporary Christian perspective.

Traditionally, the Frazee Lecture has explored the interface of religion with other disciplines. This lecture will focus on art as spiritual endeavor and as a catalyst for change, according to David Massey, Linfield chaplain.

“Art has a long history of reflecting and defining our religious practices and can be a voice for social justice, calling us to see our common humanity,” he said.

The lecture is being held in conjunction with an exhibition of Heyman’s work. An opening reception for “Bearing Witness,” the first Pacific Northwest exhibition of Heyman’s portraits, will be Saturday, April 2, from 3-5 p.m. The show opens March 28 at the Linfield Gallery in the Miller Fine Arts Center and runs through April 30. An extension of the exhibition will be hosted by the White Box Gallery at the University of Oregon in Portland from April 5 to May 14, with a First Thursday Opening Reception on April 7 from 6-8 p.m.

Heyman is a Philadelphia-based painter and printmaker, and a very good listener. He sat in on interviews between human rights lawyers and dozens of former Abu Ghraib Prison detainees, and while the men opened up about the atrocities they had suffered, Heyman drew their portraits and interwove excerpts of their testimony onto engraving plates or sheets of paper. He had the artistic sensitivity to convey their horrific experiences with great respect. Other gouaches and prints in the exhibition explore the Iraqi war and the U.S. war on terrorism from different perspectives.

Heyman’s art has been exhibited in major institutions across the nation and is housed in permanent collections at the New York Public Library, Yale University, Princeton University, the Library of Congress and elsewhere. He has received numerous awards including a 2010 Guggenheim Foundation Grant and a 2009 Pew Fellowship in the Arts. He teaches at Princeton University and Swarthmore College.

The program is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Frazee Lecture in Bible and Religion, established by friends and family in honor of Gordon G. Frazee, who served Linfield for 32 years as chaplain and professor of religion. The fund is used to underwrite an annual lecture under the auspices of the Linfield Religious Studies Department. For more information, call 503-883-2259.