ArtOff The Vine

My World art show sheds light on the lives of Mission youth

Minutes from bustling downtown Mission is the Rock Family Gallery. Entering the Mission Arts Centre building that houses the gallery, I was immediately struck by the history of the space, which features a large front porch and exposed wooden beam ceilings. Juxtaposed against all this history is an abundant array of artwork created by Mission teenagers.

This is the fourth annual student art show hosted by the Mission Arts Centre. The theme, My World, was created to encourage students to share where they draw inspiration from and what is important to them.

The show featured a plethora of styles, subject matter, and media ranging from drawing and painting, to photography and sculpture. From my perspective, the show would have benefitted from being more selective, only showing pieces that truly reflected the theme, as some works are obviously the result of teacher-directed school projects.

That being said, I did appreciate the glimpse into the minds and worlds of some of these students. Theirs is an uncontrived perspective, simply showing the world as they see it, without the need for concepts and theories as they explore different techniques and materials. Some of the pieces are unique to the adolescent viewpoint, such as the watercolour painting entitled “Boys in the Library.” The piece depicts a scene so mundane and everyday I’m instantly transported back to my own high school days when I was bored out of my mind, and I wonder if that artist feels the same way.

Another piece that stood out to me was “Platonic” by Jaden from Hatzic Middle School. It’s a photograph of a young girl, presumably a friend of the artist, who stares directly at the viewer without apology. The title is curious. Why would the artist feel the need to point out that nature of the relationship? Perhaps it points to key issues at play in the lives of teenagers today — those dealing with relationships and sexuality. Regardless, it is a beautiful portrait, expertly composed, and certainly left an impression on me.

Art shows like these are important because they give young artists an opportunity to have their work showcased to a wider audience. My World ran from May 10 to 28 and featured student work from Hatzic Middle School, Mission Secondary School, and the Summit Learning Centre.

For many of these students, this is their first taste of artistic success. The show was juried to determine the winner of Best in Show in both secondary and middle school categories. The winners were announced on May 28.

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