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Counter Culture: a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm.

For every highlight in one’s life, there are moments and times when they were “wrong;” made the “wrong” choice, said the “wrong” thing, expressed themselves in the “wrong” way.

Too few times are we given the encouragement to question our humanity in a way that asks how our notions of right and wrong/ good and bad are bred. What we can determine—thankfully due to several hundred years of focused sociological and anthropological research— is that the weight of communal pressure and the desire for order and control is often the determining factor in governing what is appropriate for one’s community. So when mainstream standards of suitability and correctness are challenged, ignored and defied, you are left with the type of threat that causes fear, confusion and discomfort to those that cannot imagine a world outside of their own rigidly acceptable communal norms.

 There is no right or wrong way to express; only ways in which we can attack the action that will or won’t cause social discomfort. For those who don’t fear this idea— from globally recognized public/street artists to those willing to protest against regulations that undermine human rights and lives —this is a way of life.

Chaffey College’s CAA Student Gallery’s current exhibition is a focus on the people behind art and actions that have affected society through sheer defiance. Ranging from photographic documentation, to sculptures made from warped vinyl records, the student curated exhibition takes the opportunity to use the space as a way as go deeper than relying solely on the art to carry the show’s topic, but to look at the artist’s lives— and the varying ways in which they are lived— as a real world practice of ingenuity and creativity, and a form of art in and of itself.

The exhibition asserts work from vandals, day dreamers, activists, the indulgent, the pro-choice, the formerly incarcerated and several other characters who have traveled from walks of life that are at a variance with the prevailing social norm.

“Counter Cultures: Challenging the Status Quo” is in celebration and acknowledgement of The Chaffey Review—the college’s award-winning literary and art magazine— and its 12th volume of the same theme.

“Counter Cultures: Challenging the Status Quo,” is on display in Chaffey College’s CAA Student Gallery until Nov. 1.

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San Bernardino, CA 92410

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