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Birmingham-Southern art professor receives fellowship for sculpture series
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Jim Neel, Birmingham-Southern associate professor of art, has been awarded the 2010 Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) Individual Artist's Fellowship for "Les Enfants de la Terre," a series of sculptures in terracotta and iron that addresses the issue of child soldiers.
A 1971 BSC graduate, Neel will receive a $3,000 award through the fellowship to apply toward the project.
Exhibited both in installation groups and as individuals, the representational figures of "Les Enfants de la Terre" are meant to address the use of children as soldiers by confronting the viewer with the diminutive scale and physical fragility of the young.
"The use of children as soldiers has been universally condemned as abhorrent and unacceptable," Neel said. "Yet over the last 10 years hundreds of thousands of children have fought and died in conflicts around the world."
Working with the resident artists at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark Metal Arts program in Birmingham, the initial terracotta figures will be cast in iron. Funds from the SECAC Fellowship will be used to finance that collaborative portion of the project.
SECAC is devoted to the promotion of art in higher education through facilitating cooperation among teachers and administrators in universities and colleges‚ professional institutions, and the community served by their institutions. The SECAC Fellowship was established in 1981 for the purpose of supporting member artists and to encourage individual creative growth‚ the development of new ideas for exhibitions, and creative projects.