The final Big Read Event for Edwidge Danticat’s memoir “Brother, I’m Dying” took place on November 17th, from 7-9 pm at the Holland Armory. This event focused on local high school students’ artwork from area schools such as West Ottawa, Holland High, Holland Christian, and Zeeland Christian, along with pieces from Hope College. Some of the students had the opportunity to work collaboratively with artists Barry Elz and Joel Schoon-Tanis.The pieces that artists made were in responses to the question, “How can art give a voice to the voiceless?” One of the main themes of Danticat’s memoir was giving a voice to the voiceless. Although she did not necessarily tie this idea into artwork it was interesting to see the two combine in a way that truly did give voices to those without.
Many of the students’ artwork focused on the topic of immigration. It was empowering to see adolescents focusing on such an important topic. Seeing the students’ responses to the book through artwork showed that we can make a change on issues that hold such great importance. No other event could have captured the essence of this year’s Big Read as well as this culminating event did.