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New art exhibited at Alta Vista branch

A collage of some of the artwork created by Ridgmont High School students.

Last week, Alta Vista was excited to be visited by two art classes from Ridgemont High School. They brought with them a number of pieces of art to grace our grey brick walls. This new collection, entitled “Faces” went up Friday morning, and a simple reception was held in the afternoon. We hope you will stop by and take a look at the latest addition to our branch.

We are happy to have these self-portraits come to stay with us, and look forward to further collaborations with the school. The students spent a significant amount of time working on these self-portraits for their summative assignments. We feel a lot can be learned about the youth participating when you take in the description of the assignment provided to us by their teachers.
A collage of more artwork created by Ridgmont High School students, and pictures of some of the artists.

How we see ourselves and how to we want to be seen by others have been questions faced by artists for centuries. It has been the focus of investigation for students at Ridgemont High School. With the general prompt to choose an expression and drawing style to reflect some aspect of their personalities, students soon realized that effective portraits, and especially self portraits attend to more than just technical realism. Some students reflected on the persona they construct on social media, while others looked at themselves in relation to their friends. Still others choose to be more introspective, observing themselves over several days and drawing entirely from their reflections in mirrors. Students found drawing their likeness was not the greatest learning challenge.

When drawing their likeness and observing their reflection for such sustained periods of time, students often fixated on their perceived flaws flaws which seems amplified by the large scale. As one student notes, “it’s hard to look at your face that long, because we are so conditioned to focus on our flaws”. In addition, making the colours and marks match the vision they have in their head was at times frustrating. Students were able to eventually silence their inner critic and just immerse themselves in the drawing process. As one student explained “when you get to the point where you don’t even see your face, you just see colour and shape and light, that’s when drawing is most rewarding”