Thursday, 17 May 2018 09:58

Swift Current exhibition showcases high school students’ art

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People listen to a talk by AGSC  Director and Curator Kim Houghtaling during the public reception for the 2018 School Art Show at the West Wing Gallery, May 8. People listen to a talk by AGSC Director and Curator Kim Houghtaling during the public reception for the 2018 School Art Show at the West Wing Gallery, May 8.

Artworks by high school students from across southwest Saskatchewan are currently on display in an exhibition in Swift Current.

Students, family members and teachers attended a public reception for the 2018 School Art Show at the West Wing Gallery, May 8.
This annual exhibition represents artworks by students participating in visual art programs in the Chinook School Division. The approximately 200 art pieces in the show were created by students from Gull Lake School, Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS), Cyber School, and homeschooled students.
The show is organized by the Art Gallery of Swift Current (AGSC) with support from participating schools and the City of Swift Current.
AGSC Director and Curator Kim Houghtaling is pleased with the variety of artworks presented in the exhibition.
“It turned out really well again,” he said. “There were some new surprises this year. A whole sculpture project that was really fun. We don’t always get a lot of sculpture but this is a really great exhibition for this series of sculptures. A real variety of artwork. Some of the projects in the schools have changed over the years and you get completely different approaches from the students and the teachers.”
Jasmine Temoshawsky, a Grade 9 student at Gull Lake School, is participating in this exhibition for the first time.
“It’s pretty cool to see it around with all the other artists,” she said about her two artworks.
The one work is a graphite drawing of a broken wall and the other piece is a winged hockey player wearing the colours of the Humboldt Broncos. This artwork is titled Heaven’s Hockey Player.
She created this work after hearing about the bus accident that claimed the lives of 16 people and left 13 injured.
“I had friends that were on the bus that passed away and one of them is still fighting in the hospital,” she said. “So it meant a lot to make something meaningful out of it.”
She is inspired to create art by what she observes in her surroundings.
“I just find inspiration walking down the street and turn it into art, or looking at photographs,” she said.
Six artworks by Raina Irons, a Grade 12 student at SCCHS, are on display in the exhibition. She was both nervous and excited about the show because her work will be viewed by the public and not only by art teachers.
“It’s open to the public rather than just one person’s opinion who is grading me,” she said. “I can see people looking at them and checking out the art. So that’s pretty cool.”
She will create art about anything that catches her interest. The subjects of her work in the exhibition vary from landscapes painted with acrylics to a graphite pencil sketch, as well as a three-dimensional mixed media painting of a polar bear and an acrylic painting of the actress and singer Zendaya.
“What inspired my Zendaya is a video on Instagram of a lady doing a big pop art collage of somebody,” Irons said. “She used a whole bunch of different colours and so I wanted to try that. My bear was just something that I wanted to try out because I’ve never really seen anything done like it before, it’s kind of a 3D drawing.”
She enjoys doing art because it is relaxing and challenging at the same time to work on each piece.
“You get to see the reward at the end and you don’t complete each painting or artwork overnight,” she said. “It takes a long time. My bear took a month to do and that was a long month of pain.”
Houghtaling finds it satisfying to look at the art pieces that were created by students and to select the works for the exhibition. He noted that visitors to the exhibition might be surprised by some of the works that are included in the show.
“It’s because it spoke to me through whatever combination of awkwardness and challenge that the artist went through or that they were just so confident, just rolled through it, and it all came together,” he said. “They arrived at the final draft and it worked. So the best stuff is always in their effort and in their struggles. It’s never a subject, it’s never a material or a process. It’s that other part. That’s right where their personality is, right at the heart of expression.”
He believes it is important to have art programs in schools to give students the opportunity to express their creativity and to explore their feelings.
“Some of the art studios in the schools are absolute retreats for students,” he said. “They’ll move into the studio and that will be their place to cope with the rest of life. … If you want a student to excel in all those other essential learnings that go into industry then you have to make sure that they’re healthy. You have to make sure that they are creative. You have to make sure that they’re inspired in order to achieve all the things that we think that we need them to achieve and the arts is the way to do that.”
The School Art Show at the West Wing Gallery takes place until June 10. The gallery is located at Kinetic Exhibition Park in the Airmen’s Billet building.
Admission is free and gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. from Friday to Sunday as well as on holiday Mondays.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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