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Winner of the Spring 2012 Competition
Stranger in a Strange Land
Artwork that explores alienation.
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oil on wood, 7.5 x 9.5 in

artist statement

Inspired by a year spent as a foreigner in a tiny coastal town in Spain, my “Separation, Belonging” series explores how distance and relocation can affect identity, and the importance of belonging.  Just as a child might play with dolls to process his or her interactions with others, I created simple, box-like figures out of paper and arranged them as if in a theater, acting out community events in which I participated. 

“Group Photo” is a painting inspired by a specific moment that I felt acknowledged the gap between my own struggle to belong and the community’s fostering of group identity. While posing for a quick photo, a friend noticed that I wasn’t wearing the colors of their matching outfits, so she found somebody to lend me a pink bandana.  The inclusion of myself as a finger is a reference to the story of the patron saint of the town – Saint Sebastian – whose finger was given to the town as a token of gratitude for helping out a ship that, while carrying the Saint’s remains, accidentally landed on the town’s shores.  In “Group Photo,” the finger – a foreigner - stands with the others to pose, the pink bandana linking it to the group while the odd form keeps it separate.


Lyla Duey received her BFA in painting from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.  In 2010 she spent a year in the Valencia region of Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship, where she began her focus on creating paper constructions to model the world around her.  Her oil paintings evolved from exploring the foreign outside and her attempts to belong, to dissecting the perspective of her interior space.  Lyla has recently been accepted as a President’s Scholar at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI and will graduate in 2014 with her MFA in painting.


Selected Exhibitions

International Art Festival Competition, Museum of Russian Art, Jersey City, NJ, 2012

15th Regional Juried Show, Newburyport Art Association, Newburyport, MA, 2012

Annual Juried Competition, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 2012

Projekt30 June Exhibition, online juried exhibition at projekt30.com, 2012

Graduate Arts Soiree, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, 2012

Pop: Up Next, Chestnut Hill Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2010

The Art of Text, The Writing Center, Philadelphia, PA, 2010

The Good Fight: A BFA Exhibition, Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2009

Clambake Supreme, Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2009

Nostalgia Is A Dirty Word, 504 South Street, Philadelphia, PA, 2009

XIV Collaborative, 504 South Street, Philadelphia, PA, 2009

Likeable Art, City Hall Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2008