First Year Juried Art Exhibition bringing raw grit of street art indoors

Students getting silly at the First Year Juried Art Exhibition. (Photo by Samantha Juric) Students getting silly at the First Year Juried Art Exhibition. (Photo by Samantha Juric)

Samantha Juric
A&E Reporter

The violence associated to the global environmental crisis, issues in mental health and bringing the raw grit of street art indoors dominated the First Year Juried Art Exhibition.

Of the 60 students in the competitive Visual and Digital Arts program at Humber only the best are chosen to showcase their pieces in the annual First Year Juried Art Exhibition.

“To think this came out of first semester design students is amazing. The competition was stiff,” said Heather Lowry, the associate dean of the School of Media Studies at Humber. “I think people in the creative fields have a huge ability to affect the world around them. And society is starting to realize that.”

The complex and nuanced works of the first year students came to life against the blank white walls of the gallery at the University of Guelph-Humber Art Gallery.

Darren Matsumoto, 19, showcased a video-piece called One Planet, depicting the history of the environmental crisis beginning with our primitive ancestors.

“It’s a commentary on what we’re doing to our planet, the violence of the incursion that we make on the planet. I guess I’m trying to say that we don’t change much,” he said.

Droves of art lovers, immersed in huddles around the gallery can attest to the calibre of skill and technique shown by the first year students.

Through paintings, sculptures and video the art students make sure their artistry is seen and their voices cannot be ignored.

Shannon Martin, 19, chose to sculpt the monster that she perceives anxiety and depression to be in her piece Monsters.

Martin’s piece is shown twisting almost as if it is writhing.

Her intent is to show how depression rips the body apart and causes people to swirl into a monster that dwells inside of them.

Alex Prakash explores the controversy about graffiti as a legitimate form of art through his piece Enlightened.

“It uses every conception of art there is,” including line, shape, and shading, Prakash said. “Regardless if it’s on the street or in someone’s sketchbook, it’s art work.”

Prakash looks to street artists such as Banksy for inspiration and admires the way Banksy’s work is politically charged.

Humber’s first year artists are using their first juried show as the platform to tackle the biggest issues of our time, fearlessly and unencumbered by societal norms.

“Politics is a big part of art. It’s a great way to express your thoughts on topics,” said Prakash.

The show runs until Feb. 20.