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Honoring the Blessed Mother in Sidewalk Art

Friday, March 25, 2011
During International Week at Marymount, March 21-25, Artist-in-Residence Marlon Moreno has worked with MU students on a variety of art projects that showcase Nicaraguan artistic traditions. One is a sawdust painting of the Blessed Mother.

In Nicaragua, these paintings are most often created during Easter celebrations. They are made from dyed sawdust that is laid out on streets or sidewalks. By its very nature, this art is ephemeral—its beauty meant to be appreciated in the moment.

A traditional subject of sawdust paintings, the Virgin Mary was also selected for this project because of Marymount’s name and the University’s founding by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

Mr. Moreno worked with several Marymount students in Fine Art Instructor David Carlson’s Design II course. Katie Scott, an Art major from Cherry Hill, NJ, says, “I loved the opportunity to work with such a different medium!”

The painting was created on top of a sand foundation on the sidewalk in front of the University’s student center, a high traffic area where it would be seen by many members of the campus community. It was designed primarily with sawdust tinted with water-soluble paint. Beans were used for Mary’s heart and for outlines, while oats formed her clothing, and rice her halo. Katie Scott points out, “One of my favorite parts of the project was seeing how different artists share similar ideas, regardless of a cultural or language barrier.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS
Photo 1: Nicaraguan artist Marlon Moreno (right) shows off the sawdust painting that he created with help from Marymount students. Pictured with him are Tahani Alsharef (left) and Karolina Dechert, both Interior Design majors.

Photo 2: The painting takes shape with the help of many hands. Pictured left to right: Karolina Dechert, Tracie Sperling, Katie Scott, Marlon Moreno, and Tahani Alsharef.