FCGS Receives Artwork by Lubroth ’00, a Gift from Alice Hadler

Written by Perri Easley ’23

Invisible Cities: Aleppo 1999, the work (1 of 4) by Gregorio Santamaria Lubroth ’00, finds a new home in FCGS. (Photo by Zijia Guo)

One of the four-part installation, Invisible Cities: Aleppo 1999, was gifted to FCGS by Alice Hadler, who taught, mentored and supported generations of international students and young writers for 25 years at Wesleyan before her retirement in this May. During her time at Wesleyan, Alice oversaw the international student population as it grew from less than 25 in 1995, to over 300 today, as a diverse and vibrant part of the Wesleyan community. In light of her recent gift, Alice had a virtual chat with Perri Easley ’23, FCGS Communications Assistant.

What inspired you to give the artwork to FCGS?

Gregorio Santamaria Lubroth is kind of the posterchild for everything that the center does. He studied abroad, he received a Fulbright fellowship, and he is actually now a visiting professor at a university in Vienna, so it seemed like it was somewhat logical. I also wanted to find a home for this gorgeous piece; I have one of the four pieces in my house, so that was all I could take there!

Another reason why this artwork was so appropriate for the Center for Global Studies is the fact that we try to think about the world in context, and this piece, which was done over 20 years ago, and it was a study of this magnificent city and it has multiple layers. Actually, in the in the piece itself, what that represents among other things is the many civilizations that were built in that place. It is one of the cities in the world that has been the longest, continuous occupied human habitations, and now Aleppo is completely destroyed–there’s just practically nothing left–so that was another reason why I thought it was particularly appropriate.

What takeaway do you want our students to gain from this artwork?

I think it is just a beautiful object, personally. If you look at it closely, the amount of precise work that went into all the little pieces that have been put together forms this big idea and beautiful thing, so I hope that people get that point. Also, go study abroad and you never know where it may lead you. He actually went back to the same region where he studied abroad when he got a Fulbright. He was both a History and Fine Arts major, so he combined those two in this piece and others.

Why is global representation so important to the Wesleyan academic experience?

The extent to which Wesleyan is integrated with the world started with the Freeman Scholarship program. We had eight international students back in 1995, and now, at any given time, between 300 and 400, so that is huge! I think we were a little ahead of the curve on that one, and that has just continues–it sorts of marks Wesleyan. Then, the fact that domestic Wesleyan students are also outwardly focused. It means that the whole social justice thrust that’s so important to so many Wesleyan students is applicable in so many different ways, and then these international experiences, whether they are on campus or outside, I think do really shape Wesleyan students’ experiences and attitudes toward the world. They make incredible contributions. I mean, it’s not true that everywhere that there are many students who end up going into public service in various ways and who continue to point themselves outward. I think that is key to a Wesleyan education.