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Humanities Edge Undergraduate Research Symposium | Fall 2021

Triumph Through Trials by Andrew Ruby

Abstract

Some of the greatest artists in history have been men and women of suffering. For example, Langston Hughes became one of the greatest poets and influencers of the Harlem Renaissance in an era where African-Americans were looked down upon in society. Cases like this caused me to explore whether trials are necessary for an artist to produce works of significant importance.

To discover this, I’ve done research on the effects of personal struggle on creativity and conducted 15-minute interviews with fellow artists from different disciplines to understand how important tribulations were to the expression of their talent. I found that going through difficulties causes one to look for ways of escape. One’s artistic talents are often one’s outlet for expressing what one cannot express in a regular conversation. Although we may not always go through tough times, those painful moments help us to gain an appreciation for the times of joy and peace. Therefore, we can better comfort others through our vulnerability in our artistic disciplines.

As a result of this study, I expect to change the perspective of trials from one of gloom to one of joy. The fruit of that labor is a spoken word poem.

Poem

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Artist Statement

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Presentation
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