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Friday, October 22, 2021

Environmental Toxicology club gets people thinking about environmental issues through art

The MU Art Lounge on the second floor of the Memorial Union shows numerous art exhibits throughout the year. Currently, it is showing Environmental Extrospection, hosted by the Environmental Toxicology club.

Environmental Extrospection contains art submitted by UC Davis students and faculty and will run from Feb. 26 to April 2. Environmental Extrospection aims to use art to influence people to start taking notice of current environmental issues.

Ezen Choo, president of the Environmental Toxicology club, was inspired by her Science and Society 40, Photography: Bridging Art and Science class, a photography fusion course.

“The class was really interesting because it was meant to get science majors to start thinking about art. We had to convey science in a single photograph. It really opened my eyes to all the possibilities of science and art working together,” Choo said.

So, when the MU Art Lounge sent e-mails to all UC Davis clubs asking if they wanted to use the space for any art exhibits, Choo immediately jumped at the opportunity. Choo got the idea for Environmental Extrospection and its goal of getting people to start taking action on environmental issues from pictures shown in her SAS 40 class. They were of environmental disasters, but were very aesthetically pleasing.

It wasn’t until Choo and the other students in her class discovered the story behind each picture that they felt the need to make changes in their lifestyle. And it was this same thinking that Choo wanted to extend to everyone who would take a look at the art exhibit.

For each piece of art showed in the art exhibit, there is a small paragraph underneath it, describing what environmental issue it is representing. The art exhibit hosts a variety of mediums ranging from photographs to watercolors.

“What’s great about all the art is that everything is by somebody who either works at UC Davis or goes to school here. I feel it’s more special to host works of art produced by people who are associated to the school because there’s a deeper connection. UC Davis prides itself on being first on lots of environmental issues and I feel that this really shows in all the submissions we received,” Choo said.

So far, the exhibit has received lots of positive feedback and support. Diane Ullman, associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as well as co-founder and co-director of the Art/Science Fusion Program, congratulated the Environmental Toxicology club for their exceptional idea behind the art gallery.

“I think what you’re doing with this art exhibit is great, [and I] can’t wait to see it,” Ullman said in an e-mail to the club.

Thi Nguyen, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major who was studying in the Art Lounge on a recent afternoon, said the exhibit was interesting.

“It’s a great way to show people’s artwork,” she said.

Choo hopes to make the art exhibit an annual tradition for the club. Besides just showing the art at the Art Lounge, there will also be a small show on Picnic Day during which they hope to interest the many participants and visitors in current environmental issues represented in the art pieces.

Currently, Environmental Extrospection is still accepting submissions.

“Even though the art exhibit hasn’t been up for too long, I think we’re on our way to achieving awareness about environmental issues of all kinds. Science doesn’t mean anything if there’s no communication. I feel that this art exhibit is encouraging non-science people to take notice of issues they never noticed before. If they go home and research something they saw at the art exhibit, I would say that the job of the art exhibit would’ve been accomplished,” Choo said.

Drop by the Environmental Extrospection at the MU Art Lounge and your eyes may open to the changes you can make to make the environment a better place for the future.

MICHELLE RUAN can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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