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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Malakai Holloway: Art from the heart

Malakai looks through a sketchbook | Photo by Emma Gottschalk

A new exhibit opened in the CCC by junior Malakai Holloway last Friday.

Makenzi Johnson | Lifestyle Reporter 

“Everybody that I know is here and that’s so exciting,” Malakai Holloway, junior art major, said as she saw her friends and peers gather outside the Cultural Connection Center to view the art on display. 

Photo by Makenzi Johnson

Praises could be heard from the spectators as they marveled at Holloway’s art on display last Friday. Several pieces of artwork –paintings, drawings, pottery — were spread on bistro tables in the hallway and hung on boards in the CCC office. 

The exhibit featured a watercolor painting of a woman surrounded by the words “beauty is pain… right?,” Holloway’s motivation for the piece coming from months spent in quarantine and her thoughts about having to wear makeup again once lockdown ended. 

A piece of art by Malakai Holloway at last Friday’s art show | Photo by Makenzi Johnson

“Why do I have to put on makeup to feel pretty?” Holloway said. “I have put these subtle messages of things I have experienced and what I have gone through and that shows in my artwork. So every single thing has meaning, everything.” 

Holloway pulls motivation and inspiration from artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and her own experiences. Being able to showcase her art during this feature event was a very gratifying and edifying experience for her, especially after the idea for it came up suddenly, she said. 

Pang Moua, the Associate Dean of Diversity and Intercultural Education, said  the CCC office needed a new exhibit. She used the center’s mission, empowering and supporting students of color, needed to be showcased by the next exhibit

“How do we create a platform for our students and how do we showcase who they are, not just what they do, not just what they can produce, but who they are as a whole person,” Moua said.

In the moment that Moua and Holloway explored the idea of an art showcase, Moua described it as serendipitous. In collaboration with Conference and Event Services and after three months of planning, the show featuring Holloway was created. 

Moua wants to continue this event by showcasing different artists, whether it be poetry, photography, art or something different. 

“We don’t have anyone in particular next, but we do know that we want to continue this and create that platform for our students of color,” Moua said. 

Holloway watched as friends and peers came to support her by coming to see the showcase. 

“I think that it’s important for me to showcase these things because there are so many artists out there that don’t want to showcase their work for fear of it not reaching people,” Holloway said. “My idea of reaching people is by showing them my whole, entire heart. I want people to see that you don’t have to have a specific message behind your artwork, just do it because you love to do it, and it will reach who it will reach.”

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