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Photographer’s entry in Lake City contest part of autobiographical series

May 5, 2019

LAKE CITY, S.C. – For Francis Marion University senior Shayna Hunter, being featured in ArtFields is a first for her art career.

Hunter, a 2019 spring graduate of FMU, entered her photograph “Redemption” as a part of a graduation requirement for the visual arts program at FMU. Each student is required to submit to three exhibits or competitions before graduating.

“I was trying to decide what competition to enter, and I saw that ArtFields had come up,” Hunter said. “So I decided to submit, take a chance and see what happens. In January, I found out I got in, and it was crazy and hard to believe, but very exciting.”

“Redemption” is also part of a 16-piece series titled “Story of My Life,” that tells the story of experiences and people who have made Hunter who she is today. The series was a part of FMU’s senior fine arts showcase for graduating seniors.

Hunter said she went to ArtFields on Thursday with her mother and sister to see all the artwork, including her own. Hunter said hearing people respond to her work has been crazy.

“I didn’t want to say specifically that it was me, but my mom kind of threw it out there,” Hunter said. “This couple was looking at it, and they were like ‘Oh my gosh. This is amazing.’ It’s crazy hearing that from a total stranger because you don’t imagine that, but the fact that that was reality still blows my mind.”

Hunter’s piece can be viewed in ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine.

Through the process of creating “Redemption” and submitting to ArtFields, Hunter said, she has learned more about professionalism.

“I’ve learned about framing and presenting artwork in a professional manner because as an artist to keep going, you’re going to have to have that professionalism when it comes to your work,” Hunter said.

Hunter framed her own piece and used a window matte technique that she learned about during a printmaking course at FMU.

“Redemption” tells Hunter’s story of how her faith has grown over the years, she said.

Hunter grew up in a Christian home, but it wasn’t until her freshman year that her relationship with God became personal, she said. Hunter said she struggled with some things, such as anxiety and a death in the family.

“All of that was kind of piling up on me, and I thankfully had a very special friend who came in and helped me in my journey and helped me come back to my faith,” Hunter said.

The image, visually, represents the transition of coming into the light, Hunter said.

“My faith, since then, even though faith has been important to me all my life, but it wasn’t until college specifically that I grew in that relationship and had a new hope,” Hunter said.

Hunter said she hasn’t been able to come to as many of the artist events at ArtFields because she has been preparing for graduation, but she hopes to be able to attend the finale tonight.

Hunter said she wants to spend the summer working on a body of work on abandoned landscapes. Hunter said she is looking to Florence and surrounding areas for her work.

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