Vojnovic Brings a Forgotten Tale to the Madelon Powers Art Gallery

Cindy Vonjnovic’s take on the General Slocum before the fire. Photo Credit /www.cindyvojnovic.com/

By Amanda Berry

Contributing Writer


This past Wednesday, ESU’s Madelon Powers Art Gallery held works by artist and educator Cindy Vojnovic.

Vojnovic had gotten into painting when she was around three years old, after visiting an art exhibit with her parents, because she was “completely lost in the brush work”.

Her featured paintings told the story of The Sinking of the General Slocum, a forgotten tale of a steam-boat fire on the shoreline of New York in 1904.

More than 50 percent of the passengers had not survived, majority being women and children. Vojnovic recalled having visions of the disaster during her first pregnancy before she even knew about what it was. Her visions had detailed imagery of people on fire, and a small boy “climbing a pole” to escape the flames.

Vojnovic payed less attention to the tiny details and portrayed the bigger message of the images, a different style than one she was used to.

One of the most powerful images was of a male survivor who was holding an infant. The colors portrayed that the male was indeed alive, but that the baby had not made it.

This extremely powerful image expressed the depth and the gravity of the situation.

Other paintings portrayed images of the boat before it had caught fire, the sinking of the boat, those who died and had washed up on the beach and other scenes from the ghastly event.

Student Sage Cain, who was working the exhibit, said that helping Vojnovic put up the paintings  gave her a little bit of information from each one.

The General Slocum Disaster was the biggest fire with the most casualties in NY before September 11, yet not many people have heard of it.

Those who had heard about it knew very little about the event even with it’s proximity to East Stroudsburg.

   For those who are interested in viewing the painting visit the Madelon Powers Art Gallery in the Fine and Performing Arts Center on campus now through Sept. 30.

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