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Frantzen Paints Portraits Of Resilient Students For Faces Of Iowa State

Faces of Iowa State - Derrick Kapayou
Sydney Marshall, ISU
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Sydney Marshall, ISU
Iowa artist Rose Frantzen paints ISU graudate student Derrick Kapayou as part of the "Faces of Iowa State" series. Commissioned by University Museums and the Office of the President, the portraits will hang in Parks Library as part of University Museums' Art on Campus Collection at Iowa State University.

Artist Rose Frantzen is most famous for her work, “Portrait of Maquoketa," a huge mural painted on 34 vertical panels that feature the beautiful landscape of Maquoketa on one side, and the faces of 180 residents of Maquoketa on the other.

Over the past five years, on and off, she’s been painting portraits for the “Faces of Iowa State” collection. This year she added six students to the collection. The students were selected because they have shown resilience and positivity in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Each student was painted wearing a mask, which Frantzen said gives this set of portraits a time element.

"Faces is a body of work they’ve been building at ISU," she said. "I think this changes the entire show and project a bit. Because it puts it into a context for the future. No matter when people look at those paintings they’ll know something happened and will have some idea of what the students went through during the pandemic."

Derrick Kapayou is pursuing two master's degrees in sustainable agriculture and anthropology. He's been working on a project that compares the soil quality between Native American gardens featuring the "three sisters," tradition of growing squash, corn and beans with more common monocropping. He's also been visiting five tribes across the midwest to learn about their gardening traditions and the role that the soil plays in their cultures. As the pandemic set in and indigenous populations faced higher rates of illness and death, those meetings had to be done virtually.

"I hope that people will look at my portrait, particularly indigenous people, and my nieces and nephews and be inspired to go to school and pursue an education," said Kapayou.

Faces of Iowa State - Catharine Found
Catharine Found, 2021 Rose Frantzen (American, b. 1965) Oil on board Part of the Faces of Iowa State series. Commissioned by University Museums and the Office of the President. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. U2021.3
Rose Frantzen paints third-year Veterinary Medicine student Catharine Found as part of the Faces of Iowa State series.

Catharine Found has been traveling to Costa Rica to the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy to host "pop-up" clinics that spay and neuter small animals in the area. The veterinary medicine students provide valuable services to a place where they are in short supply. Even after the planned 2020 trip was canceled, Found collected supplies to send.

She and her partner also took on the role of foster parents during the pandemic. "We were just finishing our certification process when the pandemic hit," Found said. But, the pandemic didn't diminish the need. "Kids weren't going to school or seeing their teachers, so there was an even bigger need," she said.

Faces of Iowa State - Thierry Habinshuti
Thierry Habinshuti, 2021 Rose Frantzen (American, b. 1965) Oil on board Part of the Faces of Iowa State series. Commissioned by University Museums and the Office of the President. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. U2021.8
Thierry Habinshuti, a senior in civil engineering poses with his portrait. "It's like looking in a mirror," he says.

Thierry Habinshuti was born in Rwanda, but graduated from Des Moines Christian School. The senior in civil engineering is also involved in organizing events and supporting international students, which wasn't always easy during the pandemic. He says after graduation he wants to use his degree to help people.

And that's something Frantzen said she heard from each of the young people she painted. "I feel a lot of hope for what’s coming," Frantzen said. "They’re all investing themselves into helping solve the problems that we’re facing. Each person was different and yet so powerful," she said.

Frantzen also has an exhibition on display at the Christian Peterson Art Museum in Morrill Hall on the Iowa State University Campus through July 30th. It’s called “Perceptions of Identity.”

Guests:

  • Rose Frantzen, artist painting the "Faces of Iowa State" series of portraits for Iowa State University
  • Derrick Kapayou, master's degree student in Sustainable Agriculture and Anthropology at ISU
  • Catharine Found, third-year Veterinary Medicine student at ISU
  • Thierry Habinshuti, senior in Civil Engineering at ISU
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk
Matthew is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa