California painter shares her knowledge with YSU students

Sarah Awad talks about her artwork and female nudity in an early 20th century art style called Fauvism.

By Kaitlyn McCarthy

Sarah Awad, a painter from California, presented an informal lecture at the department of visual and dramatic arts Tuesday, Oct. 19. The topic of the lecture was female nudity as a dialogue in an early 20th-century art style, called Fauvism. She presents the topic with the support of her own experience and artwork.

Staff and students are excited to have her present her art to the Youngstown State University community. 

Dragana Crnjak, professor of visual and dramatic arts, is a friend of Awad. She said she followed Awad for a long time and is familiar with her work, although she has never seen her work in-person, and believes Awad’s professional background makes her knowledge valuable to students.

“It is great to have someone speak directly to students in the classroom,” she said. “These lectures are really geared to students mainly — even though these are public lectures — and we encourage everyone to attend … it’s really for students to have a direct understanding and perspective that is outside of the classroom.”

Crnjak also said Awad’s work was affected during the pandemic and is interesting to see. She specifically invited her for the students because of what her work shows.

“We want to expose students to contemporary artists directly. That’s the main objective,” she said. “Her work in today’s context is really relevant because she really responds to some questions and questions our relationships with our bodies and the space we occupy … the reason I invite her specifically for students is [because] her work really reveals itself in the process of being made.”

Grace Smith, a sophomore graphic design major, said she is excited to see what Awad does and learn more about a new artist as a longtime art enthusiast. 

“I expect to look at a new artist’s work — a new artist that I haven’t heard of or seen,” Smith said. “I am always excited to see a new artist’s work and see what they do differently than I would. I’ve been doing art since I was a kid.”