For the past week and a half, students have been offered the opportunity to bridge cultural barriers and speak with people from across the globe as a part of an interactive exhibit put on through Texas State Galleries.
Shared Studios broadcasts itself as a global public arts initiative. The piece, a gold shipping container with a list of countries ranging from Afghanistan to Mexico, acts as a portal to a different country. It allows students to speak to others about anything spanning from culture to simply how their day was.
Tafari Robertson, gallery curator, said Shared Studios allows people to have important cultural conversations and break down walls that exist between international communities.
“You can sit down and just have a casual conversation about whatever you want to know about,” Robertson said. “Sometimes it can go really deep and into a specific area, but other times it really just is a fun conversation.”
Inside of the container, displayed on a large screen sat Sayid Habibi, a twenty-six year old from Herat, Afghanistan. Despite being thousands of miles away, he was able to express how he wanted to explain the two sides of the stereotype portrayed by the media about his country.
“I really enjoy this project because it feels more comfortable, and people can ask me directly what they want to know,” Habibi said. “That’s something they can’t do with the media.”
April Anderson, microbiology senior, said she made a new friend upon entering the container.
Anderson said she found the idea of the exhibit unique in that it is a golden box that holds something one wouldn’t expect inside.
“It was really neat,” Anderson said. “I was able to learn about [Habibi’s] religious background and his ethnicity.”
Anderson said she encourages other students to utilize the exhibit while it is still on campus.
“We have a lot of international students, especially now with the new engineering building,” Anderson said. “If we can learn how to embrace and respect other cultures, then things on campus would be a lot more respectful overall.”
Shared Studios will continue to serve as a cultural link, bridging the gap between students across the globe. It is located between Evan’s Liberal Arts and Flowers through Dec. 17, open to anyone.