USM Museum of Art opens the first exhibit of the new year

Hattiesburg, MS (WDAM) – The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art will fill its walls with a wide range of diverse media for the inaugural exhibit of the New Year.

The opening reception for works by Hattiesburg photographer Lt. David Holland and sculptor/artist Claudia DeMonte begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27.

During his 2008 tour of Iraq with the U.S. Army National guard Holland took 25 riveting photographs of life on the streets of Baghdad. For one year, Holland never went out in the streets without two things: his Nikon camera and rifle.

"While on missions, I was forced to view the world with a military mindset, ready to defend my country and my fellow soldiers and the countless innocent people that are helpless to defend themselves in the face of war," Holland said.

Twenty more of Holland's photos will be showcased in the new gallery on the first floor of Cook Library. Twenty others will soon be displayed in the Armed Forces Museum of Camp Shelby starting Feb. 15.

A catalogue of Holland's best 125 shots titled "Baghdad Beyond the Wire, Faces from the Fair Garden" will be available the day of the opening reception at the museum.

The Jan. 27 opening will also feature DeMonte's range of media from bronze sculptures to works made in fabric, pewter and wood. With each medium, she combines sobering observations on the position of women in the world with lighthearted humor.

"For the last thirty years, my work has dealt with the roles of women in contemporary societies. Working in series, using various media, each body of work focuses on various aspects of gender issues. I want my work to challenge our ideas about women's everyday lives and the concept of beauty in our global culture," said DeMonte.

With more than 60 one-person and 300 group exhibitions nationally, DeMonte's work is in numerous museum collections and public commission spaces. Southern Miss is showcasing a traveling display and retrospective of 30 years of DeMonte's work titled, "Opera di Donna."

The museum is located in the Fine Arts Building on the Southern Miss campus in Hattiesburg. Admission is free and open to the public Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 pm.

For more information, call 601.266.5200.

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