Mott Community College
Fiji Study Tour 2001
Student Art Exhibits
in Fiji --
post-Fiji --
student/participant comments
Funding Sponsors & Assistance
Organizing Assistance in Fiji
Techncal Credits
Photo Gallery
Video Gallery
Group Study
Looking Glass Design

“From Flint to Fiji & Return:
Art & Design Response to a Cross-Cultural Experience”

Art Exhibit

Mott Community College
Fine Arts Gallery
DeWaters Art Center
Room 214
Flint, Michigan

(click here to view gallery setup)

August 14-28th, 2002

Faculty Organizer: Mara J. Fulmer, Assistant Professor/Program Coordinator in Graphic Design, Mott Community College, Flint, Michigan USA.

Travelling can be more than the act of going from Point A and B. It can be a journey of discovery, of the people and culture in a foreign land, one’s fellow travelers, and of one’s self.

The artwork and text shown here chronicles the journey of 23 adventurers who traveled together to the South Pacific islands of Fiji, July 13-28, 2001. The students and participants in this group did not all know each other prior to the trip. Though most were Mott students and two were Mott art faculty, two other participants were from New York and Idaho. Together, their art experience ranges from novice to professional exhibiting artists. They came from different social, racial, geographic and economic backgrounds, as diverse as the country they call home. By the end of the voyage, they had bonded into a family. In this age of post-September 11th uncertainty, the strength of connection and compassion demonstrated by this special group of travelers is inspiring.

The work presented here is actually three exhibitions in one. There is the artwork that was created prior to their departure, a conceptual self-portrait and text that was part of an exhibition at the Fiji National Museum in Suva, Fiji. That exhibition was titled "Faces of Flint: Art & Design of an American Community College" and was on display from July 17-24th 2001 while the students were visiting Fiji.

This second part of the exhibition here in Flint is meant to demonstrate how such an experience of discovery can lead to a new view for the participants, as global citizens, and in self-discovery. The art and text that was created after their return, some of it as much as a year later, offers a new perspective, a "response to the cross-cultural experience." Some of that work, created after September 11th and after the death of one of the participants in late October, gives us insight into the depth of connection that the participants had for each other long after the trip ended.

The combination of the "pre" and "post" conceptual self-portraits along with the translucent suspended photographs, together offers a glimpse into their experiences traveling into a strange land as ambassadors of their country and their college.
Part of the original Fiji exhibition statement stated:

"These are meant to be "conceptual" self-portraits that tell you more about the participants than just what they look like. Identity goes deeper than face value and we hope that by participating in this program, the workshops and the general cross-cultural experience, these students will begin to re-define their identity in the context of our global village and shared values."

As the leader of this band of travelers, I discovered the profound impact of self-discovery and friendship that this trip enabled for nearly all the participants. We crossed many boundaries to reach out to others we met along the way, to cross American social barriers, and to gain experiences we never would have or could have imagined. Even in the face of adversity, when one member of the group suffered a mental breakdown en route, the others rose to the challenge, taking turns keeping watch over the safety of this participant, showing a caring and strength that many did not realize they were capable of.

A year later, I sent out a survey to ask the students how this trip may have impacted their lives beyond the experience of travel. I believe one student, Jessica Martin, summed it up best when describing why she would urge anyone to take on the challenge of such an experience:

"I would tell them that being somewhere in the world that is totally unlike your own is where you find who you really are."
~ Jessica Martin, August 2002

We can each consider ourselves fortunate to have made such a journey together. And by sharing it with our own community of Flint, we hope the journey will continue…

~ Mara Jevera Fulmer, Assistant Professor/Graphic Design,
Mott Community College, Flint, Michigan



last revised April 10, 2003

Click on the Artist's Name below to view their Artwork from the Flint Exhibit along with their Artist's Statement.

• Jayme Asselin

• Julia Asselin

• Mary Birkmeier

• Ruby Jean Butler*

• James Richardson

• Mara Jevera Fulmer

• Keith E. Fulmer

• Saara Gallin

• Francine Houston

Kathleen Johnston

• Kathleen Jones

• Jessica Martin

• Laura Ouellette

Janine Parham

• Louise Parham*

• Jenette Schanick

• Marsha Schoeffler*

• Jessica Snoblen

• Walter L. Sturghill Jr.

• Teina Tallarigo

• Terrie Todd

• Alexander Earl White

*a second piece was not created by this artist.



back to top of page