Rider presents 'Contemporary Victims of Violence and Voids' on Oct. 11

Talk and panel discussion will feature two artists

Rider University's Office of Multicultural Affairs will present “Contemporary Victims of Violence and Voids,” a talk and panel discussion with Philadelphia visual artist Melissa Joseph and artist and technologist Triton Mobley, a University of Southern California doctoral student, on Oct. 11 in the Bart Luedeke Center.

Joseph and Mobley discovered an overlap of social justice-inspired content in their work and decided to collaborate on a project that would provide viewers with an immersive experience based on Joseph’s series of paintings called “Voids,” in which she paints the spaces left behind when someone is lost to violence. Through projections of the paintings over photographs of the actual locations, the artists stitch together believable yet haunting environments.

The event, which is free and open to the community, is part of Unity Day at Rider, an annual event that aims to set the tone for the school year, bringing together students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community to celebrate the diverse elements that make up the collective Rider campus community.

"This is the time of year when we have a celebration to support the awareness and understanding of social justice issues that affect our lives in this globally diverse world," says Dr. Pamela Pruitt, director of Rider's Office of Multicultural Affairs. "By discussing these issues, we are hopeful to position the dialogues to present how we may garner a unified front going forward."

This year, Unity Day will also serve as the kickoff to a yearlong schedule of events centered on the University's Shared Read program. For the 2017-18 academic year, students and the broader Rider community are participating in the annual Shared Read program by reading and discussing Born a Crime, Trevor Noah’s compelling memoir about growing up under apartheid in South Africa during the 1980s and '90s.

Joseph and Mobley will discuss the intersection of their work and the themes of Born a Crime during their presentation. The book, which was a New York Times bestseller, earned rave reviews for exposing the absurdities and contradictions of apartheid through a personal story of survival. Noah, who succeeded Jon Stewart to become the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central in 2015, balances humor and seriousness while depicting his unusual childhood.

All first-year students attending summer orientation received a free copy of the book, which faculty use in the Rider classroom experience, a key component of orientation that introduces incoming first-year students to the expectations of college faculty and the importance of time management as independent students. Additional copies of the book have been made available to the Rider community on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The Shared Read allows students and the entire Rider community to learn about social issues like those raised in Noah’s incisive memoir,” says Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs DonnaJean A. Fredeen. “Beyond starting an important conversation, our hope is that students will build upon what they have learned by taking action in their communities.”

Joseph's paintings are on display at Rider in Moore Library, now until Monday, Oct. 30.

“Contemporary Victims of Violence and Voids,” takes place Oct. 11 at 6:45 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center's Cavalla Room at Rider University. For more information, please contact Director of Multicultural Affairs Dr. Pamela Pruitt at [email protected] or 609-896-5000, ext. 7294.