Southeast Missouri State University student publication

“By any means necessary:” Artist and professor discusses latest exhibit at The Council of Arts

Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Chris Wubbena, artist and professor of sculpture at SEMO, shows one of his favorite pieces at the First Friday exhibit. From one side, the canvas shows HELL, while the other side shows HELP.
Photo by Jowairia Khalid

Artist Chris Wubbena’s mantra is “By any means necessary” Any idea or feeling he wants to convey through his art, his mantra will push him to find the meaning, discipline and medium to convey the message to his audience.

Wubbena’s exhibit “Demos” which means “The People” in Greek, is currently exhibited at The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. Wubbena said the pieces are about burdens people carry.

“The sculptures look like figurative forms, bodies that are maybe twisting, maybe building and maybe even deteriorating. On top of them are the rock-like forms that are the burdens that we may carry,” Wubbena said.

Wubbena said he would like viewers to read his artwork in their own way.

“It’s not about what I think; it’s about when you look at them, what do you think. Because at some point, it doesn’t matter what I think; it’s about how you read it,” Wubbena said.

Wubbena added different layers of paint onto a canvas.

A lot of Wubbena’s work is political and philosophical. One of his 10-foot pieces is pink and is titled “This is her.” He said it is about environmentalism and feminism, featuring Greta Thunberg, who has been the face of climate action in recent years, on a rock. In some of Wubbena’s work, there is imagery of guns to draw attention to how violence affects a society.

“In an earlier piece years ago called ‘Speaking While Listening,’ I traveled to Vietnam with my father, a veteran, and I had a second-hand view on violence and war. I really want to draw attention to what guns do or what violence or aggression can do within society or civilization,” Wubbena said.

Wubbena said he wants to “see people working together to try to make this world a better place.” He said it’s all about “holding hands and not pointing fingers.”

The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The gallery is located at 16 N. Spanish Street in Cape Girardeau.

For more information, call (573) 334-9233 or visit their website at