Ninth grade art student

Olivia Chambry is a ninth grader at Lone
Peak High School. Under the direction of
Ms. Jolene Swanke, LP HS art teacher, Olivia
worked over four weeks with clay to create
a bust of an anonymous middle-eastern
woman. Chambry hopes this project “can
open people’s minds about the horror going
on in other countries.”
A.D.

My figure sculpture piece is very important to me.
It is an example of cultural and political issues in
Middle-East countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Art allows me to free my mind. Our minds are so full
of imagination. This is a way for me to let it out, and
not keep everything bottled up.

The bust represents an Afghan woman that have
had a tough life; what I’ve learned is truly heartbreaking.
Many Afghan women are forced or sold
into marriage as young as ten years old. Women
in these foreign countries are treated no better
than dogs. Husbands usually have many wives
and rarely care for children unless they are male.
Women have to follow strict laws; if they go into
public they have to be accompanied by a male and
they generally wear burkas. Women are regularly
beaten or killed.

I have realized how fortunate I am to live in such
a beautiful town and have a loving family.
The words on her face represent what I imagine
these women are feeling in their daily lives: hatred,
abomination, desperation, defamation, guilt,
ravaged, destroyed, remorse, sinful and aching.
The medium is clay from two buckets we have in
the classroom. We do it all by hand. I started with
a base, and formed her row by row. It got difficult
toward the top of her head because I thought it
was going to collapse. I filled the head with paper
towels to support her. Then I just laid the hair on.
For the eyes, I carved out holes, rolled a ball of
clay and sliced it in half. For the lips, I [coiled]
a thin piece of clay. It took time to capture the
expression on her face. I smeared kohl around her
eyes to capture the sadness.

I fired the bust and used acrylic paint for her face.
I died the newspaper words in coffee to give them
the old, dirty look, and then ripped them and put
them on with Mod Podge. I added fake eyelashes.
I want to stick with art. I plan on auctioning the
bust off in the Big Sky Youth Empowerment’s
Spring Runoff event in June. I showed Dave
Granger, the [Program] Director, and he loved it.
I was very anxious to start this project, and I am
now happy with the way it turned out. I’d like
to work with women in the Middle East to help
them better their lives.

Chambry’s bust will be auctioned off at BYEP’s Spring Run-off. Click here for more information.