Sunday, May 7, 2017

AP Art Exhibit Greek Cultural Center

The Alexandria-Athens Connection 

In the spring of 2016, I proposed taking my advanced art students to Athens, Greece. The rationale was to immerse them in a city with a thriving and vibrant art scene-I hoped the trip would be the catalyst for their impending concentration portfolio. When all was said and done, I reflected on my essential questions: "Was the trip worth it, and how did it impact the student learning?" While the trip influenced each student individually, their common shared experience is that artists take risks when putting their work out there. The end product is not only the physical product; the process of problem-solving and decision-making are equally important. When it came time for my students to exhibit their work, there was a hum of resistance and hesitation. At the end of the evening, there was a sense of accomplishment and celebration - the end of a year's worth of hard work. 

Special thanks to the Greek Cultural Center in Alexandria for hosting the event and bringing our trip to a full circle and Jay for taking most of the photos. 

Sion: selected works and excerpts from artist statement: 
I depicted the feeling of inevitable alienation experienced in a foreign, but familiar setting. The idea was driven from personal experience of living most of my life overseas in Egypt as a Korean. Though I was born and raised in this very place, I was never received as a part of the society. I still risk being leered at every time I leave my house. I'm was aggrieved of the fact that I can never feel fully at home and fear that I would never be welcomed in a close-knit community...I wanted to express that specific sentiment that I have experienced and that many people are experiencing unconsciously by drawing the scenes of daily life that can commonly be seen in the place that I live in. I tried to bring out the image that I saw of the scenes through my own eyes of the dusty streets, dull-colored buildings, unfashionably colorful objects, and the people living their usual day inside that faded frame. I left the edges of the paintings blank at first and drew on it with just pencil to express the sense of detachment and the unfamiliar, unsympathetic aspects that I felt present in the scenes that I encounter daily.  

Zeina: selected works and excerpts from artist statement:  
Refugees are struggling more than we could ever imagine. They live in so much fear, worry, and dismay. As a student who lives in a country that has welcomed one of the highest number of refugees in the world, it has come to my attention that they live in so much discomfort, not knowing what the next step of their lives is. I have decided to raise awareness for those in need. Those citizens have been forced by their government's callous decisions to flee from their countries, due to daily threats and harassment. As a human I am pained by the images that I see coming from that terror zone. My concentration is focused on these refugees. I have interacted with many refugees here and actually have a relative whose father recently died in the Syrian civil war. One of the main struggles during the process of working on my concentration was an incident of confrontation involving the Egyptian security and government. After taking these photographs, I was told that this was an illegal activity and that officers had a warrant to arrest me for supposedly defaming Egypt. Through a meeting and explaining my project with the authorities we were able to resolve the problem. I was then informed that I could not proceed with this project, but I insisted on representing a voice for refugees because they are not otherwise heard.   I decided to portray this message using a mannequin of a young boy, who has streaks of paint that look like blood, and has a missing leg and arm. I used this mannequin to represent the internal pain of those children; in reality they may look okay on the outside but from the inside they’re broken, missing parts of their identity and not able to ask for the simple necessities of a child. I pictures of this mannequin against the beautiful backdrop of Alexandria, Egypt...

Sofia: selected works and excerpts from artist statement: 
Body image is a common problem in our society, no matter the age or the gender of a person. Looking at thin, small bodies in magazines, the news, or online influences how one sees their own body. My concentration focuses on women's body image and the severity of eating disorders. Through my pieces I want the viewer to have a glimpse of how a person struggling with body image issues suffers with, and sees the world through that person’s eyes. Eating disorders are powerful and controlling. Going through the journey of one of those many people struggling with their body image, I have challenged myself in proceeding through this topic in an attempt to regain my self-esteem in my appearance...

Rana: selected works and excerpts from artist statement:

I’ve always had a very tough time dealing with anxiety and I felt very suffocated by it as if I were being consumed. Since anxiety is something that I and most people constantly have to deal with, I wanted to visualize anxiety itself. Birds and snakes were my main focus with birds being the personification of freedom while snakes being the personification of anxiety. Every bird/snake in my concentration is different showing how each person's anxiety and coping mechanism is unique. All the snakes are dark while the birds are colorful showing how freedom usually is represented colorfully while anxiety is perceived as dark and depressing...

Mona: selected works and excerpts from artist statement: 
I come from a family with powerful women who instilled the confidence in me to break the mold; which is rare since I live in a society where women are constantly oppressed. My mom and my aunt have made sure that I get the best education and to expose me to different cultures around the world.   I am a female living in Egypt and I experience sexism daily. On my way to school I drive by cafes filled with men reading newspapers and smoking, not a single female in sight. My sisters have to wear baggy clothes to work to be taken seriously. I have to tie something around my waist to prevent harassment. It is safe to say, feminism has been instilled in me at a young age, which is why I chose that to be my concentration. I was inspired by the words I was constantly told and chose to tie the sky and feminism. Each piece is a zodiac sign depicted through women...

Farida: selected works and excerpts from artist statement: 
Pregnancy is thought to be a magical ride that people are destined to be on. I hate babies. When my sister told me she was pregnant, I planted a fake smile on my face. A mixture of feelings overwhelmed me. My hate for babies was placed behind my sister's needs. My life now circulates around a person shorter than 60cm. I never saw myself as a baby lover. My sister and her baby now live in my house. My day circulates around his sleep cycle. Instead of complaining about the baby, I took my passion for art and put it together with my new experience.   My work generally does not depict a positive view of pregnancy. My works include my inner thoughts and how I viewed what was happening to my sister. Her body changed, her personality changed, and her needs were not hers. I am surrounded with the view that pregnancy is a beautiful thing that every woman dreams of. What I saw was an object that was growing inside of my sister that was stealing her nutrients and inflicting pain on her...

Sarah: selected works and excerpts from artist statement: 
To most people, the jump from childhood to adulthood tends to be quite shocking and intimidating. I chose to portray innocence in contrast to the hardships that come with maturity and the exposure to new and unnerving emotions that one feels as an adult. The teddy bear that is present in all of my concentration pieces is intended to be an object symbolizing purity and vulnerability. Thus, I drew the teddy bear into blood-curdling situations that, in contrast to its naive aura, seem helpless, unguarded, and liable to emotionally submit to the somber nature of these newly discovered unsettling emotions. The reason why I chose a teddy bear to be the consistent symbol in my pieces is because I want the viewer to be alarmed by the strong contrast between such an uncorrupted object and the circumstance it is facing. I mainly used water paints which produced vibrant colors for my pieces because they add a certain animated style to the overall appearance, which further enhances the general feeling of a child’s perspective. I was inspired by the method horror movies use to create an eerie feeling in the viewer. Commonly in horror movies, when the scariest parts are to be presented, a soft and delicate song plays or an innocent-looking child appears. This way, the viewer almost feels comfortable and safe in the presence of innocence, which is what makes the reveal of the chilling scene that comes next all the more startling...

Nagham: selected works and excerpts from artist statement:
Mindless consumerism has become one of the most prominent aspects of our consumer society. Our obsession with materialism and monetary value has become debilitating to both our independent and collective advance. This acidic form of subconscious manipulation enters our bodies without our knowledge, moreover, I depicted its invasion of our bodies as it enters through different body parts and intoxicates our existence. I also represented the effects of said intoxication on the infected.   I aimed to convey these ideas through my pieces. A lover of indirect connotation, I shy away from obvious conveyance and lean towards subliminal messages that are open to variable interpretation based on the viewer’s eyes. Moreover, I made several references to brands and novels. A series of literary references were made to classics including George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury's fahrenheit 451. I also drew inspiration and employed symbols referencing mainstream brands that highlight the same aspects of consumerism which was my focus: Supreme (Barbara Kruger) and Obey (Shepard Fairey). With the encompassment of classical as well as modern notions, I aimed to depict the gradual decay and suppression of our body and mind starting after the industrial revolution.