The Most Universal Way of
Expressing Relationship with Arts.
The class of 2019-2021 had a very unique schooling experience! They started in 2019 as a regular and normal class, where everything was fine, and then of course as we all know they experienced home learning, and a range of challenges that accompanied the pandemic. This class has done an amazing job and showed resilience, comradery, kindness, patience, flexibility and they held themselves together. They had to adapt and watch their parents, teachers and members of their community adapt and cope with an experience none of us had ever been through before. And these students should be recognized for their ability to forge on and stay strong during the pandemic and the changes to life that happened due to COVID.
Students have done their exhibitions about a range of topics, from environment, mental health, culture and corrosion of culture, internet and control, the pandemic and being stuck outside of China. They have been true IB learners demonstrating the use of previous knowledge from the MYP, merging and applying the knowledge to new situations and using creativity as a tool for communication.
The DP exhibition is the culmination and the star of the WISSwide whole school art show as well. The exhibition is called I <3 Art because the grade 12 art class decided that it is the most universal way of expressing WISS’ relationship with Visual Arts from 2 year olds to 18 year olds.
We hope you enjoy the show!
Director of Visual Art
Secondary Visual Art teacher
The theme my work aims for is making my audience a bit uncomfortable. I enjoy creating things that are equally beautiful yet vaguely disturbing. As I created each piece I focused on what made me happy which was the way people reacted to my pieces especially when the piece was inherently cute yet has something strange within it.
The feeling my art provides is very important as, as much I want my audience to feel uncomfortable with my piece I also want them to laugh with me as they take in the effort each piece was given and try to see why I made it in the first place.
I used many mediums to create my pieces from the classic acrylic paint to stuffed animals. I used inspiration from many sources which allowed me to come up with a variety of pieces. Creating pieces that I enjoy is very important to me as I want my effort to be shown as I create it with mediums that have inspired me the most.
I try to draw from my own creativity and what I’ve seen in time. I like to think that my work doesn’t need a clear view and more to generate feeling I want to give to my audience as the things that inspire me make me feel.
The overall theme of my artworks is ”Facing the reality.” This theme includes the current situation, emotion, and expectations that I hope for in the future. In the last two years, I have created artworks related to my interest, myself, and my dream. I believe artists are creating artworks to express their thoughts. So I have focused on myself and the situation around me.
Plenty of my artworks are related to the ocean. I have created pieces related to it, and some of the artworks have the technique to remind the ocean waves. I have a lot of interest in the ocean, and I like to show the vast ocean that represents freedom, and ocean waves make people calm and comfortable in the artworks.
I have used acrylic paint for most of my pieces because I am confident to use this skill. However, I tried to experience various materials and skills to practice and get used to new skills in these two years. Wood carving and oil paint are the skills that I tried for the first time. Sometimes, I put two or more materials in one artwork. I think It was a great experience, and also I am satisfied with my artworks.
The concept of my exhibition is “Dark Side: inspired by another personality of mine”. During the daytime, I am a typical high school student who is an open-minded and positive person. However, another me will emerge when the night starts. My pieces demonstrate two totally different painting styles, such as strong and bright artwork as well as all-black paintings.
Before creating my art, I would love to browse the concept and arts on social media such as Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Xiaohongshu. These platforms highlight photos, art, and the latest trends, allowing people to share favorites globally via the Internet. One of my favorite artists is Yayoi Kusama. Using the Internet led me to follow her fan page on Instagram. I also receive her latest news or current exhibition photos daily. Through this research, I was inspired to create many paintings.
This exhibition is centered around the exploration of human emotional reaction to change, trauma, or development, with a strong focus on facial expression depicted from personal experiences. While many will stigmatize and generalize mental health, this body of work strives to breakdown misconceptions regarding certain emotional states.
The main questions explored by the images are; how do people express emotion and tell a story without the use of words. And how can emotion be photographed in a powerful and impactful way. I was very intrigued in the concept of portraying emotion through photographs and began to question what are some ways to achieve that. Photographers such as Thomas Vanoost, Katie Crawford, and Dennis Wickes inspired me even further to pursue this topic in my work. These photographers shaped and influenced my thinking and working process.
The earth has taken billions of years to come to where we are now. it is strange to think that the biosphere -of which we are part- is only a fraction of that time, and yet it seems so extensive to us. Looking at the evolution of the earth and its complex life forms, it is difficult not to find beauty in them, in the sophisticated systems that natural selection and evolution have brought with them. Yet, one big part of this biosphere is the abiotic systems, the non-living factors of our world. There is such beauty to the delicacy of which the biosphere is built, that it is difficult not want to explore it with art, especially with its rapid deterioration.
In order to transmit this idea to the audience, I have decided on an array of materials. I chose to use acrylic paint for a lot of my ocean paintings, to illustrate the way that the ocean is created by water, but at the same time trying to emphasize the basic value of the ocean by using gold paint. Additionally, I used color blocking to again simplify the image of the ocean as a way to highlight the colors of the ocean, to show how we often miss out on the details. We don’t understand the interconnectedness of the ocean because we don’t usually see all its components, that’s why I separated the colors. Additionally, I also used thread to show the delicacy and complexity of life. also using old cross-stitching techniques to remind the audience of the way that life has evolved. Needlework is a thing of the past, and if the world keeps going the way it is, it will also become a thing of the past.
I have an affinity for fashion design for many years. Throughout these years, I have cultivated my passion for fashion through hands-on experience and projects, and I am truly eager to use my passion and experience to integrate fashion and art to promote and express my pieces. The theme of this exhibition is to create and give art another kind of beauty by centering on “rebirth” and provoke thought. I want to show that we human beings are like the nature of infinite vitality. Even if we are destroyed, there is still a new force to constantly rebirth. Just as people die, there will be new birth in the life cycle.
Most of the works in the exhibition are a combination of art and fashion. I believe that there is a connection between the sturdy materials and the soft aesthetics, and at the same time it can better represent the theme of the exhibition.
Various elements are used in the artwork, including foaming agent and polystyrene foam, fabric, silica gel, vacuum compression bag, acrylic and other elements to express the theme of rebirth. I think my works are uniquely creative, bold and free. I use a trendy and avant-garde immersive visual experience to bring a unique show of spatial art.
This exhibition’s primary focus is addiction, within that there is an aspect of the psychology behind addictions. The inspiration behind this is the idea of every individual being addicted to some substance or another, no matter how harmful or healthy it may seem; I find that very fascinating. My objective for this display is to bring different points of view, other than that I would also like the audience to have a chance to interpret and somehow relate to the pieces of work in this exhibition. I wanted my art to not only portray the “ugly” side of addictions but to show the good side.
For my first piece in class, I was very focused on how trapped one may feel in the addicted state. That is when I started exploring mazes and connecting it back to my own culture with the Panamanian Molas that are made to protect people from evil spirits, this inspired me to make maze-like patterns to enforce my pieces such as “High.” and “Stockholm Syndrome.”
“The erosion of culture” is illustrated throughout my exhibition. The purpose of this exhibition is to deliver traditional culture and appeal to the audience to the importance of preserving the traditions under the changes in society. I believe preserving traditional culture is very important. The love for traditional culture is based on my close relationship with my grandparents, and my experience of playing the Pipa, a traditional Chinese instrument. In this project, I used different elements to represent a different culture.
Most of my artworks are in acrylic paint, but, there is an additional material that I applied each time to make a better connection between the material and the main idea of the artwork. I started to learn drawing at 4 years old learned to use a wide range of materials, and the basic skills set me off well when creating the piece.
The first piece is “Past, Present, Future”, a violin piece with resins as crystals. The resin crystals indicate the rebirth and expansion of culture, the concept of decomposing and erosion for the entire piece was inspired by Daniel Arsham.
The concept behind my exhibition is the portrayal of mental illness and depression. The way I engage this sensitive topic is by pulling experiences from my own journey of mental illness and to portray these feelings visually. The aim of my work is to emotionally connect with the audience, not only the viewers who can personally connect to the struggles depicted, but also for those that haven’t suffered from any mental illness.
The artworks shown are heavily inspired from my own tribulations of mental illness, more specifically, depression. My depression is something that has stuck with me ever since I could remember, and has impacted my life more than I could ever express, yes this is what I aimed to achieve in my art. my exhibition is in a way a story, a story of experiences and emotions of not only myself but millions across the world.
I hope my exhibition can make a deep impression, so in addition to classifying according to the painting style, I will also adjust the position according to the size of the work, to achieve a balance of the overall vision.
I want to display 9 works in total. Although they are all light related works, they are mainly divided into digital works of art, abstract works of art and photographic works of art. I hope to display them in such a classified way, and my abstract works of art are the most and my favorite, so I will put these works in the most central and prominent position in my exhibition area, Let others feel the art that I want to express at the first sight. And digital art works or photography works will be placed on the left and right sides of abstract art works, because in fact, these works are some unexpected or special ideas or creative ideas in the process of my creation, and my original intention is still to record the beautiful light.
In addition to furnishings, I also thought that I need some spotlight with 45-degree angle, because I think that the whole work can not be well presented as I used to use light above the work in the past. I hope to show the best color rendering index. I think this will become one of my characteristics!
I try to draw from my own creativity and what I’ve seen in time. I like to think that my work doesn’t need a clear view and more to generate feeling I want to give to my audience as the things that inspire me make me feel.
I’ve always enjoyed horror games and how they play with ones mind as you go through the game and find out more about the story and the rush you get from every scare. I think when you expect it the least in something that should originally not be scary is very juxtaposed and makes the piece more interesting to view.
I have no real connections to any specific artists though there are few that have inspired some pieces. However, there are artist I think have done this well such as, Honeylambs, who creates Frankenstein plushies, and Junji Ito, a horror manga artist, who draws in a beautiful style whilst creating horrifying pieces at the same time.
I love to have contrast within my art, scary/cute, strange/beautiful. It’s always been something I’ve found the most interesting and enjoyable. I feel like it truly shows the most character and somewhat reflects myself through my work as I heavily enjoy cute things as well as horrifying things.
“Drowning” is the first artwork that I have created. The fish in the cup represents the ocean’s plastic problem, and the bright part of the sea shows hope in the fish’s view. I have used the actual plastic wastes in this piece, such as a plastic cup and straws.
“Wandering in a dream” represents the hope and my expectation of the future of the ocean, inspired by Kool Koor. This piece connects with the previous artwork, “Drowning”. This piece represents that the whale is swimming where he wants to live, which is the pure ocean. And this is the whale’s dream. These two pieces showed my interest in the ocean problem directly and indirectly.
“Confusion” is the self-portrait that I have created. It is in monotone because I only used a pencil and pen. The tangled hair looks like a water flow, and the net shows my chaotic feeling and trapped frustration of current society. And I think monotone helps to create the gloomy mood that I wanted to show in this piece.
“Suffering” directly connects to the current situation and my feeling about it. COVID-19 made the whole world suffer. The color of the face symbolizes the earth. I have expressed heartrending emotion in this artwork to show how the earth and people worldwide are suffering because of the covid-19.
“Clue” I draw myself from a first-person perspective, holding a key and a puzzle. These objects symbolize my unexpected future. I have tried the zentangle technique in this artwork. The pattern that I put in this piece shows my various thoughts of the future in my mind.
The artworks are exhibited in the glass room in front of the café, where many people will be able to see my artwork when passing through the room. Two artworks related to the ocean will be placed next to each other. Next to those pieces, my self-portrait “confusion” will be hung. The wavy hair in the artwork is meant to represent the ocean waves that connect the ocean artworks.
There are three pieces that I included the face into the artworks. “Confusion,” “suffering,” and “growing.” I am placing these artworks next to each other. These three pieces show the present. My concerns, myself as a learner who grows every day,
Lastly, “She,” “flowing dream,” and “clue” would be the last part of the exhibition. These pieces include my thoughts about passion and intention of drawing and the future.
To conclude, My whole exhibition is divided into three parts. The first part shows my interest and informing about the specific world issue, and it naturally connects to my portraits that depict the emotion of the current situation. The last part shows my passion and my unexpected future. By this arrangement, I hope the audience feels sympathy and understands how I felt when creating these artworks. My exhibition’s flow makes the storyline that the viewer can understand, from the current situation to my thoughts about the unexpected future.
In order to incorporate the culture from my Indian half, I decided to look into henna patterns or Mehndi. The henna and Mehndi patterns made me think of mazes as it has intertwining lines and usually layers outwards multiple times. However, I wanted to make it my own by creating my own designs and connecting it to how addictions are tied to a person once they become uncontrollable. In most Indian culture weddings, the bride is supposed to have the soon-to-be husband’s name onto their hands with henna in the middle of all the other designs. With that idea in mind in mind, for “The Eye.” I made my designs, including social media symbols, cigarettes, drugs, and other addictive substances, as well as the word addiction in Hindi “लत” (lat). I very much enjoy using objects to make a piece more original. For “An Addict’s Dialogue,” I used cigarettes and tobacco and burned cigarettes to form the letters on the piece and for “Illusion of Truth” and “Glass Box,” which are lens-based pieces where I used pills, poker cards, and poker chips as the main elements in these pieces. Lastly, for the “Not Trapped”, I made flowers, a delicate, beautiful thing, with metal wires, making it look rough and intensify the feeling of being trapped between the sturdy metal wires and to show how we attempt to justify the addictions like something as nice as flowers.
The colors I incorporated into my pieces contributed to the meaning and the impact of the pieces. Black, red and white seem to be the reoccurring colors in my exhibition because of the idea of when an individual is addicted. Their thought processes are very “black or white” which implies there are only two extreme answers with no in between, this seemed very interesting to me as many people tell addicts that if they feel like it then they should stop. However, it is hard for them for that reason in particular. The red between these two colors is an inspiration from Keith Haring, as he used a pop of color to draw the eye’s attention. Along with that, another inspiration from Keith Haring bright pink by Keith Haring’s “Crack is Wack,” where he used a bright orange.
I want the audience to be able to interpret these pieces themselves, to relate to them in a way, and give their own meaning to it, as I feel as if every individual has some sort of addiction, no matter how small or grand. Lastly, I want this exhibit to bring awareness of how an individual’s mental state may be if addicted to a substance.
During the period, I also visited a couple of creative exhibitions in Shanghai. Take Westbund, for example. There were numerous artworks on display in the gallery over there. I discovered many concepts from different designers and took notes on many elements, including the art gallery’s interior design. One gallery that impressed me displayed video of artworks on the walls. I appreciated how designers can create a world of their own and can communicate information to viewers through music and short videos.
Viewers of my exhibition can explore their dark side through my work. They should be aware of their mental safety and be careful about the words they use to communicate with other people. As a result, it is alright for all to preserve the safety of their thoughts. Furthermore, I would love audiences to wear special glasses that make my artwork visible. Without these glasses, they could not see the paintings. Behind the artwork’s meaning there is sarcasm that the public frequently could judge if they recognize it.
Finally, I am going to introduce my favorite design, “Fall Deeper Watching”. It is a 3D artwork created with acrylic, hot glue, wires, and paper. The work represents that apart from all the black, the eye has been watching you for a long time. The work 3 is attempting to announce the purpose of everything is to be under my control. I am on the top of the problem before it happens. For example, school things, relationships with friends or girls, decision regarding studying in university and looking for what major I am interested in. It is not an evil eye or something and this is supposed to be a eye of power meaning the eye of a teenager who is a growing individual on his or her path. On the other hand, the painting could d be explained in another way which talks about an eye that is watching behind you linking in the core of my theme. More detailed, take a deeper look, the eye looks like melting and that is what I would love to display from my work!
“La Marseillaise” expressed the erosion of French culture by using the character of La Marseillaise and the American culture through the use of pop art technique by Andy Warhol. The American culture resonance between the first and the second piece of artwork.
“Until the imminent chaos” is a recreation of a scene in the movie “Farewell My Concubine” by using crayons and pencils. Pencil sketching is my strength, and it is best used to emphasize the sense of time. In the second and third artwork, the characters were being created, they were not once alive.
“招財進寶” same as “Until the imminent chaos”, they both expressed the erosion of Chinese traditional culture. This shares the same main material with the second piece- Acrylic paint. Besides, this piece used
“Sudden”, focused on the environmental erosion. I chose to put it as the last piece because the main purpose of this exhibition is to appeal to the audience to take action on protecting and preserving as well as delivering the culture from erosion, we can start to protect the environment from now. The water drops on the acetate resonance with the crystals on the violin as they are both create the feeling of liquid.
The entire exhibition is based on my personal experience during the COVID-19 pandemic which contributed significantly to the creation of my photographs. Each image depicts an experience, event, emotion or change I have personally experienced and wanted to share through photography. The global pandemic transformed and impacted my photographs in all aspects, from the framing of the composition to the underlying story portrayed in them, the images strive to dive deeper into the emotions evoked from such an experience. The exhibition aims to show a personal development and growth I have gone through in my final year of high school, developing from chaos and busyness into separation and isolation. This is why the sequence of the images will take the viewers along my journey.
In order to portray emotions and tell a story through images, I used several photographic techniques to achieve the images I envisioned. The most significant once is focal length, the distance between the photographer and subject has a big impact on how the image will be interpreted by the viewer and how the emotion will come through in the photo.
I also paid a great deal of attention toward the composition of the photographs, ensuring the composition aligns with the intention behind the image.
The exhibition opens with an image titled “Chaotic story”, illustrating the busy and messy part of my journey, where I felt so many emotions at once. It is a very powerful image as it combines several different facial expressions into one image. The placement of this image is important as it sets the mood for the rest of the exhibition.
The core of the exhibition is made up of images that represent the development in my journey, it is illustrated through the distance starting to form between the photographer and the subject. Images that represent that are “Shock & fear”, “Far from reality”, “Mother and daughter”, “No where to go” and “Hope”.
The middle image in the exhibition is titled “I’m not ok”, I have decided to place it in the middle because it has a significant impact for both the images beforehand, and also the image to come afterwards. Viewers can develop from this image to the rest of the exhibition, or go back to the beginning and compare it with this one. “I’m not ok” is the center point of the exhibition, representing my struggle with depression and aims to breakdown stigmas regarding youth mental health.
The exhibition closes with an image titled “Someone out there”, this photograph sets the end of my journey, illustrating a sense of isolation and separation. It also creates closure for the process the viewer went through in the exhibition. This image is the most distanced image, both visually and conceptually, but also portrays a sense of hope.
The entire exhibition heavily relies on the emotional relationship between the images and the viewer, my aim is for the viewers to emotionally connect with subjects and relate the depicted emotions to their personal experiences. While the body of the work as whole strives to take the viewers on a continued journey, each image has its own unique interpretation. My goal is for viewers to realise that showing emotion is understandable, and sometimes vital. I aim for my photographs to touch the viewer’s heart, as the underlying theme of COVID-19 has likely impacted everyone in one way or another.
However, depression and mental illness is heavily stigmatized in our society, forcing many into hiding their emotions and simply put on an act to fit in with the rest. Often this act works, and people seem surprised when they discover that one is depressed. This is a common theme I find when talking with others with depression, this need to hide their emotions for various reasons. this theme is one that runs through most of my artworks, and acts as the main anchor point of what each artwork relates to in some degree. To portray this theme in a conventional manner through depicting it blatantly as the focus of the artwork, this theme is displayed subtly.
I went about this by portraying surface level artworks which could be enjoyed without further analysis and investigation. Each artwork however shows a deeper meaning behind it. this process is intended to symbolically represent the hidden emotions and truth that those with depression and other mental illnesses hide in order to avoid the heavy stigma. The ability to take what the artwork is intentionally hiding resonates with how people consider okay as the standard, and doesn’t delve further with people that might be struggling.
My artworks in this exhibition are in two categories, the digital artworks and the oil works. I decided to move to digital as I believed I would be able to greater represent the theme, greater I believed than I would be able to with oil. Because of this, my oil works are far more direct and visceral in their portrayal of depression. These works also contain heavy references to self-harm, a highly stigmatized and shunned symptom of depression. it felt important to portray this aspect as even though I have never taken part in the practice, I know many that has.
Each artwork shown has its own distinct theme and feel to them, ranging from symbolic use of Greek mythology in the artwork “Icarus”, to representing blindness in “Blind to our own light”. This diversity of themes was intentionally created as to create a new narrative and story to experience for every artwork, for which the viewer may explore.
In order to further emphasize the disaster of the earth, the pieces are going to be intertwined. There will be a forest piece next to an ocean piece. This will create a disorganized mess, creating a feeling of discomfort within the audience. The pieces will be too far apart or too close, sometimes too high up or low on the ground. the juxtaposition between the beauty of the art and its mode of display serves to illustrate the current state of our word, a state of disaster.