This outstanding exhibit is in the North lobby alcove of Ewing Hall on the campus and will remain on permanent display at the same location.
This donation includes almost 60 life masks of bluesmen, each cast directly from the face of the living person. Blues fans who have long lamented of the lack of photographs of early bluesmen, will rejoice that McConnell has used her talent to preserve the likenesses of bluesmen in these three-dimensional sculptures, each of which captures the minutest details of a performer’s face.
Blind since her late 20’s from a degenerative eye disease, McConnell expresses her connection to her subjects as a “mapping of their emotional surfaces.” She says, “I have lost sight, but I have gained vision, and sculpture is a vehicle through which I can access my lost sense.” McConnell goes on to say about her work, “It’s very intimate in the sense that you’re touching someone’s face and they can feel your intention and your care. They’re giving me their joy and pain in their portrait, and I’m just kind of mapping it out as my hands go across their face.”
Included in this remarkable gift are the images of Bo Diddley, Bobby Rush, Charlie Musselwhite, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Robert Lockwood, Little Milton, Bobby Blue Bland, Koko Taylor, and a host of others.
For more information on the exhibit call the
Photo: Life masks of bluesmen by sculptor Sharon McConnell