From beet dragon to blindfolded paintings: dive into KPU fine arts grad show

Thu, Apr 4, 2024

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) are using unique and interesting ways of developing their final projects to connect with art. 

Quixotic will feature installations from 12 graduating students. Each student interprets the theme through their own artistic lens and medium.

“Our Bachelor of Fine Arts students continually push the boundaries of creativity. Their artistic interpretations of the theme through various media are a testament to their talent, skill and imagination,” says Dr. Shelley Boyd, Dean, Faculty of Arts at KPU. “I’m always so excited to attend this event each April and celebrate the students’ art.”

The project by Sandy San, one of the featured student artists, was inspired by the tragic murder of 13-year-old Marissa Shen. 

“I'm a mother of two, and I deeply care about young girls,” says Li. “I want to raise awareness about caring for the younger generation and I want to help them have safe and healthy lives.” 

Li used natural ingredients like beetroot juice and paprika spices to create a fire dragon from Chinese mythology, symbolizing the cleansing of sins. Hot paprika signifies trouble, while the sweet taste of beet represents hope for a bright future.


Jovi Lam's project encourages giving up constant perfectionism and learning to listen to oneself. Lam paints her black-and-white pictures blindfolded. She focuses on emotions and sensations as she creates. 

“I was so stressed because I couldn't get perfect lines,” shares Lam. “When I close my eyes, I hear different sounds and feel different temperatures or textures, and I draw that out. I use various movements and gestures to create marks on paper that reflect my feelings in the moment.”

Jovi Lam's project

Materials are crucial for Ashleigh Elstone, whose artworks represent the cycles of life and beauty and the duality of death. She uses a variety of flowers she has grown herself and bones foraged locally. 

“The bones represent the melancholic sense of beauty in the face of death as they are often tied to the idea of death,” explains Elstone. “But this work isn’t about mortality in the sense that there is an unequivocal end, but rather that life and death are intertwined and flow continuously.” 

Ashleigh Elstone's project

Changze Li, a prospective artist and early childhood educator, uses sculpture to show the bond between children and parents. He explains that hands and gestures are crucial in children's communication before they learn to speak. 

Dany Li's project

Fine arts instructor Jessica Gnyp congratulates the graduating class. 

“It has been delightful to see students working together and challenging each other as a group while working towards their graduation exhibition,” she says.

The exhibition runs from April 5 in the gallery spaces at KPU Surrey campus, 12666 72 Ave.