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 Aiming to “convey
the true portrayal of self, not
photographic perfection”,
Izzy M. depicts the beauty of
natural imperfection in her
self-portrait Two Red. Viewers are
drawn to the imperfect asymmetry
of the Klimtian gold-leaf detail above
one eye and below the other. Eyes
are also a focal point of Prisha G.’s self-portrait Shakti, part of her “Inner Power” show, focused on the power offemininevulnerability.Theloweredyetpiercinggaze shows the dualisms – soft and hard, muted and bold, pliant and firm – at the heart of women’s strength to endure, persevere and overcome enormous difficulties. Dhwani, a plaster sculpture of a group of brittle, wrinkled hands, shows the striking strength of fragile women coming together and achieving wonders.
Whitney Y. and Natalie F. use a dreamy blue-lilac-violet palette in their self-portraits to embrace coming-of-age vulnerability. Natalie’s Euphoric subverts happy colors to expose the face as a mask. In Whitney’s Growth on my Mind, inspired by Frida Kahlo’s Diego on My Mind, a pretty but fading forehead doodle symbolizes the tension between the reluctance to let go of the past and desiring the future.
Comradeship: Friendship which Elevates Ingenuity
The practice to embrace vulnerability led the artists to build a bubble both safe and friendly. “They built a very strong community and were encouraged not only by me but by their classmates to take risks, experiment, and know it was okay to leave their comfort zone,” says Ms. Russo Scherr.
Inevitably, they influenced one another’s Vernissage strategies, for example, placing pairs of works opposite each other. At the start of Izzy’s exhibition, viewers walk between two large screen videos, the over-saturated Nothing that is Heard and the black- and-white Everything that is Unseen.“The one the viewer sees first will color their perception of the remainder of the exhibited pieces,” says Izzy. Jana K. contrasts the colors and position of Reflection and Coalescence to depict the interdependent tension in natural harmony, an imperfect balance. Whitney Y. induces a choice of perspective by displaying When in Venice I and When in Venice II across from each other. “Each viewer decides how to interact with the works first, up-close for details, or far away for the big picture.”
The artists’comradeship led to a variety, depth and cohesiveness of work that wouldn’t have happened in a competitive, egotistical environment. “My class is really cooperative. Everyone gives everyone feedback and it made us all the artists we are today,”Jenny says. Ms. Russo Scherr notes,“Their community continually exceeded my expectations. They felt sheer joy when others were successful and that was a beautiful
thing to be
part of. Right up until the show opened, they were helping each other out and lifting each other up. It lifted the dynamic quality of individual works and the overall
IB Art: Uniquely Free from Limits
Freedom from typical IB constraints unleashed their artistic ingenuity. Izzy, who’s been at FIS since Pre-Primary, explains:“I’ve been at school for 14 years and IB Art was probably where I felt most free to explore, even with the daunting requirements, especially as an HL student. The IB is quite rigid but in IB Art I could go in whatever direction I wanted, using whichever materials I wanted.” She didn’t set limits on what was possible and uses a very broad range of media, including painting and illustration, digital video, the synthetic organza This is Real! dress, the prejudiced danger of the Let’s be honest recycled jewelry, and the dangerous romanticism of the glass sculpture
Pour me a glass.
The Vernissage’s variety of media is powerful and seductive. Jana’s spider-like Unleashed uses embroidery-on-linen to depict an ocean at sunset, at once peacefully harmonious and darkly wild; Trickster, her suspended life-sized sculpture of a jumping fox, is made of wire clothes hangers. Anaїs uses
collage, image transfer and Plexiglas in pieces like Clutter, Derealization and the stunningly architectural Labyrinth of the Mind, a 3D portrait of the disconnected mind navigating a fragmented maze of thoughts, memories and emotions. In Fast Fashion, Whitney used collected plastic trash from shipping packages to make an 18th-century styled dress, with a train that trails into a garbage bin it hangs above.
Even the most conservative with their choice of medium changed their minds. Whitney had a strong preference for acrylic paint “but soon discovered my love for collages and mixed media.” Jenny tried not to stray from pencil and paint but “mixed media became important to reinforce my theme.” She uses paper texture, montage, toothpicks and “thousands of scales” in the stunning Waves of Life, a 3D paper sculpture of four fish swimming over a circular swirl of oceanic foam and seaweed, depicting constant awareness of the changing world.
Resolute Optimism and Tranquility in Turmoil
The Vernissage exuded resolute optimism and a refusal to surrender to personal and global challenges. As Whitney says, “For me, making dark art would make me feel hopeless.” Art makes these eight artists happy; their IB Art journey was one of insight, endurance and trust; the Art Studio was their happy place. Their work transpires it and uplifts us all. “On the
18 FIS World June 2022

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