By Mark Hallum
Queensborough Community College’s art gallery is hosting an installation designed to help people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities express their emotions better.
“In the Gardens of Mount Olympus” is a fantasy-themed display focusing on Greek mythological gods, goddesses, and creatures and turning them into modern day fables by using the avenues of visual art, dance and music.
The display shows life from hell, heaven and the universe above. Viewers take in this installation by first learning about figures in Greek mythology, and then exploring how the characters relate to them and the world around them.
“In the Gardens of Mount Olympus” is a piece by Mara Sfara, an artist who has exhibited her work throughout the city and around the world. A portrait titled “Tribute to Tuskegee Airmen” is permanently housed at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, L.I.
“The biggest challenge for persons with learning disabilities is communication,” Sfara said. “My exhibit is based on seeing things moving in space and hearing sounds. These tools can help people use the senses rather than language to understand the world they live in, and from that understanding, to begin to translate their experience into words so they can communicate with others.”
Sfara comes from a family of Holocaust survivors and her home-life growing up has shaped the way she expresses emotions through art. Her father, at the age of 6, escaped a Nazi round up of Jews when Ukraine was invaded and survived by hiding in the wilderness for years until the war was over.
His post-war enthusiasm for life has been a significant influence on Sfara’s work.
“In the Gardens of Mount Olympus” is part of the exhibit “From Land to Sea,” and can be viewed no through Jan. 15.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall