The first in-person exhibition by final year students from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University since the COVID-19 pandemic began opens this Friday (Apr. 8).
While there is no unifying theme connecting the works in the exhibition called Untitled, the events of the past couple of years played a role in shaping a collection that is very personal for most of the artists.
“Our work is about ourselves and our experiences,” says Krystal Charlston, one of the artists. “We became such a close group and knew each other so well. It helped us share experiences and bring them into our art forms.”
Charlston’s work includes pink farm equipment sculptures that represent her dual nature. For M. Lissette Isaak inspiration came from drawing her stepfather’s scrap collection, while Cassandra St. Godard and Ciska Jans have risqué exhibits that meditate on personal anxieties and traumas.
The pandemic was an inspiration for Sue Johnston, who was unnerved by the loss of nuanced voices from social discussion. Kacia Lee addressed women’s labour, including sex work, through traditional craft forms. And societal concerns influenced Winnie Hui’s work, You.
“I think everyone in this world always thinks about ‘I’ first, but sometimes you have to think about other people’s feelings or their thoughts,” says Hui. “I think ‘you’ is very thoughtful and also powerful for a person to think of.”
Zoe Leung was influence by childhood memories and current events in Vancouver and Hong Kong. She is looking forward to the exhibition being in-person so she can interact with the audience and gauge their reactions.
“Being an artist in fine arts is really about moving people and about having a conversation and saying what you want to say,” says Leung. “So to be able to hear the feedback from that is super important.”
KPU fine arts instructor Liz Toohey-Wiese says the show is an opportunity for the students to celebrate all the hard work they have put in to the exhibition.
“Being able to share with friends and family and the community the work they have been doing is a really important part of being an artist,” adds Toohey-Wiese. “And getting to share their ideas with the world in person is just a great opportunity for them they are really excited about.”
Untitled opens in the Spruce building at KPU Surrey, 12666 72 Ave., on April 8, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Masks are mandatory.
Learn more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts at KPU.