October 27, 2011
11-199

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

Art in Odum: Amalia Amaki Creation Brings it all Together

 

VALDOSTA -- Of the more than 50 works of art currently on display at Valdosta State University’s Odum Library, one piece has emerged as the tie that binds the library’s past to its future -- a mixed media creation that celebrates books through art.

Dr. Amalia Amaki’s “For the Love of Books” can be found on the library’s second floor, in the Hub Gallery Area. A three-dimensional piece made of buttons, paint, books, and a reproduced postcard, it pays homage to an individual who was responsible for bringing in almost $1 million worth of books to Odum Library and celebrates all that is possible through a never-ending desire to learn.

When William H. Mobley IV died from a heart attack at his Arlington County, Va., home at the age of 76 on May 23, 2010, Deborah S. Davis, certified archivist, director of VSU Archives and Special Collections, and chairwoman of the Library Art Committee, said his friends and family created a special fund at the Odum Library to honor him. Because he had acquired so many books for the library through his work at the Library of Congress, someone suggested the library use the funds to purchase more books. Someone else suggested the library purchase a piece of art.

Davis said that Amaki’s name came up several times as discussions continued.

Amaki was already working on a piece, tentatively called “Dancing with Books,” that later became the Odum Library’s “For the Love of Books,” a tribute to Mobley. Davis said it took several months of research and negotiations with galleries to decide on an artist, and she added that the library is very pleased with the finished piece.

In Amaki’s work, two children dance on top of “a solid bottom foundation of books, surrounded by a plethora of buttons. The books include child psychology and education books, as well as literature, history, and even dictionaries,” according to information provided by Davis. “Buttons are mundane treasures; any child whose mother sewed can remember playing with these domestic ‘jewels.’ The children, dressed as dancers with button jewels, reach towards a book in the top right corner called ‘The Sky’s the Limit.’ This is a happy composition, full of promise.”

The piece also contains a book about Mobley and a small postcard featuring the Odum Library, as well as books by local authors. It was purchased with matching funds from VSU’s Art Funding Pool, established during the 2010-2011 fiscal year by the University Planning and Budget Council. Dr. John Gaston, dean of the College of the Arts and professor of communication, said the funding pool serves “to assist in the development of the university’s indoor art and an outdoor art collection that will enhance the university’s image of excellence as a regional institution of higher learning in the University System of Georgia.”

In addition to Amaki’s “For the Love of Books,” the Odum Library currently has two full collections on display. The Lamar Dodd Collection is housed on the north side’s first floor and features 20 paintings and prints from a variety of significant 20th century and a few 19th century artists. The Ross Rosenberg Collection is housed on the north side’s second floor and features 15 very big paintings and drawings, 15 very tiny drawings, and two sculptures.

Also hanging inside the library, in the Hub Gallery Area on the north side’s second floor, is a four-piece teaser from the Jeannette and Charles Kessler Collection of East Asian art, which will open in full in January 2012.

Odum Library “has by far the largest art collection in the university,” Davis said, and on Friday, Oct. 28, the VSU and South Georgia communities are invited to check out Art in Odum, an initiative that resulted in the campus library becoming more than just a run-of-the-mill library but a destination promoting education through the unexpected. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can view the various exhibits, talk to some of the artists, and learn more about the future of this ongoing project. Refreshments will be served.

Amaki and Rosenberg have confirmed their attendance at the reception.

An artist, art historian, writer, film critic, and visual studies scholar, Amaki is currently a professor of art, art history, and visual studies at the University of Alabama. She previously taught at the University of Delaware, North Georgia College and State University, and Spelman College.

For more information about the Art in Odum initiative, contact Deborah S. Davis, certified archivist, director of VSU Archives and Special Collections, and chairwoman of the Library Art Committee, at (229) 259-7756 or dsdavis@valdosta.edu, or visit www.valdosta.edu/news/releases/odumart.101011.
For more information on the Lamar Dodd Collection, visit www.valdosta.edu/news/releases/doddart.101411.
For more information about the Ross Rosenberg Collection, visit www.valdosta.edu/news/releases/rosenberg.102111.
For more information about the Jeannette and Charles Kessler Collection, visit www.valdosta.edu/news/releases/kessler.102411.