709 Penn Gallery to Present PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN? Photo Exhibit, 9/13-11/3
"Patriotism has always been the most abstract of American virtues, which may be why we fight so ferociously over the symbols that help us define it. Too often those symbols: flags, anthems, and slogans, which are meant to unite us, end up dividing us." - Richard Stengel, Managing Editor, TIME Magazine
In her new exhibit at 709 Penn Gallery, Proud to be an American?, Pittsburgh photographer Rebecca Chiappelli explores the meaning of patriotism from diverse perspectives. "If a universal form of patriotism ever existed, it is not present in today's culture," says Chiappelli. Proud to be an American? is a simple question with a complex answer. Over the past century, many key events such as world wars, technological advancements, and shifts in the economy have influenced our definition of patriotism. Even today, our definition is expanding due to challenges from external sources like the media and globalization.
"I began this project with a close-minded view of what it meant to be patriotic," says Chiappelli. "Interviews and personal testimonies challenged me on the various ways people express their passions about living in America. As a nation, it is important to understand that there isn't a universal definition; we might all be patriotic and love our country, but just show it in different ways. We need to understand those differences in order to still be unified. After all, United We Stand, Divided We Fall."
Bea Chiappelli (b.1981) was born and raised in small town America and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA. Chiapelli earned a Bachelor's Degree from Mercyhurst College, with a concentration in Fashion Merchandising and Associate's Degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. After working in the retail industry for several years, Chiappelli decided to leave that field and purse her passion for photography. She earned her MFA in 2012 from the Academy of Art University, with a concentration in Photography.