NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center presents Samantha R. Talbot-Kelly in a prerecorded interview on her installation “Pandemia’s Black Feather,” handmade masks outfitted on a mannequin that resembles a fashionable sci-fi couture dress.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, masks have become a significant part of our lives. We wear them to protect ourselves and to protect those around us. Talbot-Kelly, a seamstress in Norwich University’s Uniform Store and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Architecture+Art, has created “Pandemia’s Black Feather” (pictured).

In Samantha R. Talbot-Kelly’s Pandemia, a variety of fabrics, colors and materials infiltrate a dress that symbolizes historical mourning dresses and modern couture styles.

Pandemia (named for the Greek word for pandemic) is created mostly from masks that cascade and sweep around to the floor. A variety of fabrics, colors, and materials infiltrate a dress that symbolizes historical mourning dresses and modern couture styles.

Please join us on Facebook at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for a free virtual discussion with artist Talbot-Kelly and Katherine Taylor-McBroom, the museum’s curator of exhibits and collections. To learn more about the installation and the artist’s creative process here:

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Samantha R. Talbot-Kelly’s Artist Statement

PANDEMIA’S BLACK FEATHER (Grk pandemic) stands on the cusp of change. She is a fictional goddess, a spiritual warrior who walks between light and darkness.

“Pandemia’s Black Feather” started with mask-making for the International students at Norwich University who could not travel back to their homelands in March 2020. During this time, I was also designing a corset bodice block for a private client. I pinned all my sewn masks within my taped block onto my dress form for curiosity's sake and ended up with a dress of masks.

Given the burdened status of our planet carrying enormous social, political, economic, and health care stress from the onslaught of COVID-19 during our current climate crisis, I felt the urge to create a benevolent figure who represents strength, empathy and protection.

About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Alden Partridge and is the oldest private military college in the United States. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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