Six hands join together, each grasping a neighbor‚??s wrist.
Peach, brown and pale yellow hues color this hexagon of disembodied appendages, some plain, some adorned with rings, others inked with flowery tattoos or the Chinese yin-yang symbol, representing the interconnectedness of opposing forces.
For Hannah Oustrich, the inspiration was simple: a photo of linked hands she saw somewhere on the Internet. Translating that image into the three-dimensional medium of glazed ceramic required the painstaking work of Oustrich‚??s own hands.
‚??It took quite a while,‚?Ě art teacher Denis Yanashot said of Oustrich‚??s tile, describing how multiple firings and painstaking paint work was required to achieve the right effect.
That craftsmanship -- and the simple, powerful symbolism -- earned the Riverside High School student a first place award and the honor of seeing her colorful tile immortalized in print, as a featured image on the poster for this year‚??s Interdependence Day Hexagon Project exhibit. The showing, at the Library Express in the Mall at Steamtown, runs through Sept. 30.
Oustrich‚??s, whose work received a first place award for most effective piece of high school ceramics, was one of 25 Riverside students whose work appears in the exhibit, of whom more than half received awards. Exhibitors include several students who graduated earlier this year.
Interdependence Day was launched in Philadelphia on Sept. 12, 2003, the date chosen as a post 9/11 symbol of regeneration. Its goals include fostering greater harmony and tolerance throughout the world, emphasizing the interconnectedness of humankind and different cultures. Six-sided hexagons, which can so neatly nest with one another, serve as a metaphor for interconnectedness.
The Greater Scranton Interdependence Day Committee‚??s People‚??s Hexagon Project invited students in grades 5 through 12 to create hexagonal artworks interpreting the movement‚??s focus on global unity and tolerance. This is the art project‚??s six year, and organizers said more than 2,000 hexagons were submitted in the first five years. This year‚??s exhibit features hexagons from students worldwide, with Northeast Pennsylvania representation this year coming from Riverside, Abington Heights, Mountain View and Tunkhannock.
Riverside‚??s students were taught by Yanashot and Lisa Temples.
Temples said it can at first be challenging for students to represent some of the movement‚??s more complex issues, but that it has been rewarding ‚??learning different ways to teach them how to express‚?Ě the diverse themes.
Artistic expression and interconnectedness are themes for the Oustrich family. Hannah‚??s younger brother, Aaron, won a first place award for most effective piece of high school ceramics. His tile featured symbols of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths together with a yin-yang.
But ceramic wasn‚??t the sole medium in play. High school student Keisha Buttaro won a second place for most creative expression in the high school category for two-dimensional work, honoring a collage she made that incorporated a panda bear in an ecological theme.
‚??It‚??s to represent that we are not the only creatures on the planet,‚?Ě Buttaro said.
Nancy Ariza, Taylor Berto (third, most relevant, HS ceramics), Keisha Buttaro (second, most creative, HS two-dimensional), Elizabeth Cannon, Gabrielle Furman, Kasey Gandara, Brittany Gordon (honorable mention, HS ceramics), Lauren Grzyboski (honorable mention, HS ceramics and honorable mention, HS two-dimensional), Rio Hueg (honorable mention, HS ceramics), Mason Hughes (most relevant, middle school ceramics), Kayleigh Kempa (honorable mention, HS two-dimensional), Samantha Keoonela, Ariel Nelson (Moscow Clay Works Award, ceramics), Ryan O‚??Malley (honorable mention, HS ceramics), Hannah Ostrich (first, most effective, HS ceramics), Aaron Oustrich (first, most effective, middle school ceramics), Gabrielle Palonis, Crystal Phillips, Melony Plisko (honorable mention, HS sculpture), Skye Rachko (second, most creative, middle school ceramics), Autumn Resauit, Ashley Sabatell, Vanessa Schab, Yacousa Sidiloe, Corey Smegeil.