Best of the Week 2021-2022: Teaching to the Future
IB VISUAL ARTISTS DEBUT THEIR WORKS OF ART AT FIRST-EVER IB ART EXHIBITION
This week, St. Ed's IB Visual Artists hosted their first-ever IB Arts Exhibition to discuss their artistic creations and explain the process of finding and expressing themselves within the IB Visual Arts course. Each student's exhibition was organized around a thematic link or what the IB Program calls a "coherence." Students have journaled about their personal areas of thematic interest earlier in the year and have since let their art-making practice change their initial ideas over time to refine a theme for their art and overall exhibition. "My exhibition has been influenced by the idea around motherhood, specifically the connection it has with my family's immigrant experience," says Kaobimdi Ugwu '23. "For my portrait project, I worked with Huda, a Sudanese migrant with whom I began to connect and sympathize. She's been living a life similar to my parents' own experience. But the thing I related with the most was food, specifically a doughy cassava starch called 'fufu.' It reminded me of my mother when she cooked it for me, and I'm certain the same goes for Huda's children. The concept of my exhibition focuses around motherhood and themes of food, provision, and culture."
Each student displayed five or more pieces across three different art-making categories, featuring various mediums and highlighting their knowledge of artists in that field before they experimented in the medium themselves. In lens-based art, students exhibited portraits, art videos inspired heavily by 1970s and 1980s art videos, and other pieces linked to performance art. In 2-D art, they displayed linoleum block printing and, finally, in 3-D art, students created installations inspired by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Ghanaian/Nigerian artist, El Anatsui, featuring a wide variety of interpretations ranging from interactive and ephemeral installations to textile and mixed-media sculpture.
"As a person transitioning from boyhood to manhood, I chose to make art that reflects the relationship between boy and war," says Van Weinmann '23. "Throughout history and across cultures, young men have been reared to become warriors. In a short time, boys are expected to grow into men and be willing to 'go to war,' both physically and emotionally. Through this physical and psychological transition, boys adopt a new identity and kill elements of their old selves. With the use of 20th century American war motifs, I hope my exhibition tells the visual story of the duality of emotion in the shift from boy to man."
"Each student was encouraged to lean heavily on a wide variety of cultural, personal, familial, historical, and artistic reference points to help deepen the layers of meaning in their work," says Film Department Chair Lydia Munnell. "Our hope, as a class, is that the pieces, along with exhibition notes and overall curatorial rationale, can create what El Anatsui might call 'objects of contemplation.' Each student was able to make his work even better when he focused on making something personal, not just conceptual, and spent time noticing the images, ideas, and coherences that create the tapestry of life and community."