MVSU professor’s art to appear in exhibition

November 10, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss.—Sodam Lee, an assistant professor of Fine Arts at Mississippi Valley State University, has been selected to have her artwork appear in the Hattiesburg Emerging Artist Exhibition.

Lee’s artwork, “Heavy Shoulder” and “Fishing Boys”, will be shown during the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association’s 2017 Fall Art Walk, hosted at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center from 3-7 p.m.  Saturday, Nov. 11.

Her pieces will appear along with work from 20 other emerging artist during the event.

Lee said she is excited about the opportunity to showcase her work.

“Since I began teaching in the art department in 2016, I have had an opportunity to learn about African American’s culture and life. Being a representative of visual artist in Mississippi, I am glad to participate in the Hattiesburg Emerging Artist Exhibition and have the opportunity to introduce my personal work to the people in Mississippi,” Lee said.

Lee was accepted to the Mississippi Artist Roster by a panel of artists, presenters and educators. She will represent as a “Mississippi Visual Artist” at the Mississippi Arts Commission in Jackson.

Lee was also recently invited to the Incheon International Design Fair 2017 where her artwork, “Fishing Boys”, was exhibited at the Cultural Center in Incheon, South Korea Oct. 26-30.

The “Heavy Shoulder” piece features a young, barefoot boy in a long white T-shirt and shorts carrying two buckets of water balanced on each end of a pole across his shoulders. He is missing an arm, presumably lost during the Korean War, and appears in black and white against an orange background.

“He is repeated several times in a diagonal pattern across the image. This boy represents my father’s generation who lived through miserable conditions in the aftermath of the Korean War in 1950s, the same situation that many in the older generation of African Americans suffered during slavery,” Lee said.

In the background of the print, covering the top third, a series of modern apartment buildings represent the wealth of South Korea today.

“In contrast to these buildings, I placed an image from The Royal Standard of Ur, which is a Sumerian artifact discovered at the Royal cemetery of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia,” explained Lee. Soldiers and wagons pulled by horses are parading in a row.”

Lee said her main goal was illustrate a comparison between the two.

“These images intrigued me with their color and ambiguous shapes. I juxtaposed them with the boy carrying a water basket and used them as a symbol of cultural richness. The military figures and the apartments appear in gold to represent prosperity in comparison to the poverty of the boy,” she said. 

For more information about the Hattiesburg Emerging Artist Exhibition, visit