The art in the life of a volunteer
A class of kids crowds onto a truck to attend a field trip to a mountain in Jamaica. Photo by Ceyda Baysal.

The art in the life of a volunteer

UMBC’s library showcased an eclectic art gallery presenting works on behalf of the Peace Corps from Feb. 26 – March 2. This art gallery is a collection of photographs, drawings and writing pieces provided by real Peace Corps volunteers and provides spectators with insight into the perspective of an honorable volunteer.

The Peace Corps is a U.S. government-run organization that aims to help people in need internationally. Since its start in 1961, Peace Corps has been accepting volunteers and helping communities abroad.

The Peace Corps works toward world peace by providing assistance to communities in need, educating members of American culture and educating Americans about other cultures. The organization aims to develop a sense of empathy and understanding toward other ways of life.

Volunteers have a variety of tasks including teaching classes of children, promoting grassroots efforts and environmental protection, educating on health and disease prevention among many other missions. To apply to become a volunteer, you must be over 18, be a U.S. citizen, have intrinsic motivation and an altruistic heart.

Many of the volunteers chose to capture their virtuous experience with photographs. One photograph depicts a young girl peeking over a blue fence. In an excerpt under the photo, it is explained that the little girl was from Fiji and, although she and the volunteer could not verbally communicate thoroughly, they shared a conversation of gestures.

No matter from what country, we are all human. As humans, we have an innate tendency to communicate, and despite language barriers and accentual differences, we always find a way to understand one another. The Peace Corps emphasizes this capacity for human understanding and connection.

One watercolor painting is of a sweeping Comorian woman titled “Fighting Red Dust.” Although the image depicted an activity quite lackluster and average, the colors are bright and intense. This adds a new beauty to a normalized custom. It depicts how something common to one viewer may be memorable to another.

This seems to be a common theme throughout the gallery. Peace Corps encourages viewers to find beauty in what one person may find different and odd, whilst another may view normally. It is important to embrace and respect all cultures whilst emphasizing their individual beauties.

Another volunteer had drawn a picture of a girl jump roping using a scarf. The volunteer had expressed that this drawing was inspired by a young girl in Moroni who, in order to escape boredom, created her own joy using a scarf.

The drawing is simplistic and straightforward. The colors are dull like the young girl’s mood before inventing her own enjoyment. The drawing has a very child-like flair, keeping the integrity of the young girl’s innocence and imagination.

This gallery presents sights a person may see as a Peace Corps volunteer. All of these images show a discovered beauty in life overseas and show how rewarding it can be to devote your life to benefit others. The gallery will be available for viewing only for a week, but its art may just make you consider joining a corporation that could benefit you and others for a lifetime.