Bluffton Packet

Former left-brainer fell into artistic career by accident

These Taino flags are chu-shrs Cindy Male created. Male said in feng shui, a chu-shr is used to draw energy toward an intention and is hung at a particular compass point that represents a characteristic of an individual.
These Taino flags are chu-shrs Cindy Male created. Male said in feng shui, a chu-shr is used to draw energy toward an intention and is hung at a particular compass point that represents a characteristic of an individual.

Cindy Male didn't become interested in art until she took a drawing class in college. Before then, she was more interested in math and science. But when she started analyzing what was going on in her brain when she was drawing, she became engaged in learning about art from an intellectual point of view. That was in the 1960s.

"I didn't mean to be an artist," Male said. "It wasn't my intention. I was just so interested in the process."

Now an artist and educator, Male has taught art at every level from kindergarten through college. She was an adjunct art professor at University of South Carolina Beaufort's Hilton Head Gateway Campus for five years and has taught art to high school students in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on and off for the past 30 years. Her parents, Fred and Dottie McClure, have lived on Hilton Head Island since the early 1980s, and she owns a home in Bluffton.

Male works in a variety of media, including painting, fabric installation and fashion. Her work will be displayed through Aug. 28 in an exhibit called "ZemiZen" at ARTworks gallery on Boundary Street in Beaufort.

The exhibit will open with a lecture and fashion show from 6 to 8 p.m. today.The lecture will focus on fabric installation, which Male describes as an art form using fabric to make a statement. This particular installation pairs Taino Indian Zemis (gods) and mythic characters with feng shui and Zen meditation, all of which Male became interested inwhen she started practicing yoga. The fashion show will feature Male's original Caribbean-themed designs.

"A lot of what I do is geared towards people being more conscious of themselves and the world around them," Male said. "And I think that that really is what art is about today."

Arts Council of Beaufort County Executive Director J.W. Rone said he is impressed with the quality and philosophical content of Male's work.

"I think that the esoteric nature of it is very special and her relationship to her art and to mind/body/spirit is a real unique point of view ... because her world view is so eclectic," he said.

Male also will offer a weeklongworkshop at ARTworks. The workshop will focus on helping people find their creative energy and transferring it into everyday life.

Male said everyone is creative; some people just don't realize it. She wants to help them through that process.

"I strongly believe that when people quit creating, they just sort of check out," she said.

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