Hibo Abdi ’24 and Lauren Haley ’24 Featured in ArtsWorcester College Show

Mar 06, 2024

Two Assumption students, Hibo Abdi and Lauren Haley, both members of the class of 2024, have been selected to showcase their art in the 20th Annual College Show presented by ArtsWorcester. Their work was selected from over 230 submissions to be displayed at Worcester’s Davis Art Gallery, and is currently on display from February 15 through April 21. 

Both Abdi, an English and digital arts double major, and Haley, a graphic design major, submitted three pieces to the show, with two from each artist selected to be showcased. One of Abdi’s pieces, a photograph from her series entitled “So Much Grief, So Much Light,” was chosen to win a Juror’s Prize, the top prize at the show. 

Student Heba Abdi '24 poses with her art, titled "So Much Grief, So Much Light"
Abdi with “So Much Grief, So Much Light”

“That was for sure my favorite in the series that I did. It was one of my stronger works thematically,” Abdi said. “When I submitted it, I did not think I was going to win the jurors’ prize at all. I just thought it was an honor to just be accepted into the art show in general, and for my work to be displayed.” 

The winning photograph was taken by Abdi during her independent photography study with Assistant Professor of Art Scott Glushien. Abdi also had another piece entered in the show, a photograph titled  “Did You Know True Love Asks for Nothing?” 

Student Heba Abdi's art is shown; two photographs, one on the left titled "So Much Grief, So Much Light," one on the right titled "Did You Know True Love Asks for Nothing?"
Abdi’s art; left: a piece from the series “So Much Grief, So Much Light,” right: “Did You Know True Love Asks for Nothing?”

“‘So Much Grief, So Much Light’ was about documenting the union of marriage, and the grief and beauty of it, along with the darkness and scary aspects, and ideas of who can get married in our society and what obstacles stand in their way,” Abdi said. “‘Did You Know True Love Asks for Nothing?’ came from when I bought my first camera and was taking photos; I did a couples’ photoshoot, almost.” 

Haley’s submissions in the show were two mixed media pieces, one a collage entitled “The Twins,” and the other entitled “Regalia of Birth.”

Student Lauren Haley's art; one collage titled "The Twins," one Cornell box entitled "Regalia of Birth"
Haley’s art; left: “The Twins”, right: “Regalia of Birth”

“‘The Twins’ was inspired by mixing vintage images of women with a modern marketplace or farmers’ market,” Haley said. “‘Regalia of Birth’ was supposed to be based off of something called the Cornell Box, where [Joseph Cornell] created little universes inside of boxes.”

Student Lauren Haley '24 with her art "Regalia of Birth"
Haley with “Regalia of Birth”

Both students have cultivated their work through their artistic journeys, which began years before they entered their artwork in the show.

“I always wanted to start with photography,” said Abdi. “There’s like an incessant need to document everything in my life, like the people that I love, and to create projects. I love looking at other people’s artwork as well, and creating something that can kind of match them in some way.”

“I always knew that I wanted to do something creative,” said Haley. “I collected magazines when I was younger, and now I do a lot of magazine collage work. Art was an interest from a young age that developed as I got older.” 

Both Abdi and Haley credit the professors and coursework in Assumption’s art and music department as foundational to their creative growth.

“My photography courses taught me a lot about editing…if you take the time, editing really makes a difference in your work,” Abdi said. “I’ve also never printed my work, and the courses taught me that your artwork can look so different once it is printed as well.” 

“Both of my pieces were a product of a collage and sculpture class that I took with Professor Gary Orlinsky last semester,” Haley said. “I use a lot of collage in my work…even in my digital work. It’s an important aspect to me as an artist.” 

“Professor Lynn Simmons came up to me in Whole Foods and suggested I submit to the show,” said Abdi. “If she hadn’t come up to us, we probably wouldn’t have done it.”

The ArtsWorcester Show was the first show both students had entered their art in, and being accepted has given them both opportunities for growth in the art world. 

“It’s been really cool, especially since I am not actually from Worcester, but I really want to get into the art community here,” said Haley. “I think this opportunity gave me a foot in the door as far as meeting other students and connecting with the arts in Worcester.” 

The art from the show is on display at the Davis Art Gallery in Worcester, Massachusetts. The show will run until April 21. For more information, and to see a digital collection of artwork from students across Massachusetts, please visit the ArtsWorcester College Show website.