Namaste—Seeing The Good In Water Art

Kathryn Hagy

Kathryn Hagy speaks about her fall 2010 semester in Nepal. She spoke March 3 at MMU.

Professor Kathryn Hagy put her hands together and greeted us in a traditional Nepalese fashion, saying “namaste.”

It means, she said, “I salute the god in you” or “I salute the good in you.”

It was the beginning of an entertaining hour March 3 as the Mount Mercy University faculty member told stories and displayed images from her Fulbright Program fall semester in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I had followed her blog while she was in Nepal (click for her web site, link to blog on her home page), so I had read some of the stories before, but I really enjoyed the program. One highlight for me was the photographs of water splashes she displayed, a recurring theme in her art. Some were images from Iowa, even a splash in the MMU grotto, but then she showed similar images from India and Nepal.

One evolution in her splash pictures is the inclusion of a bit more context—such as men in a boat in the background—in the more recent images. Also, she noted, her Asian water images were much darker.

Sometime, I’d like to talk to her and find out what kind of camera she uses and how she sets up the water photos. As a photographer, I think that they seem like very carefully crafted images.

I also liked seeing pictures of the prints her students had made in Nepal. Some of those prints will be on display next spring at MMU.

I estimated about 70 people attended the session, a very good turnout for a faculty presentation at MMU. Much of the group appeared to be adults from the community. It was an engaging, enlightening, low key program. I am anxious to see the Nepalese prints next year in the gallery. Art is one thing that helps us see the good in others.


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