The upcoming Limelight Youth Art exhibition and showcase will feature a cross-section of emerging young artists and those showing their work publicly for the first time.
One participating artist, Giang Tran, a Grade 11 student at St. Michaels University School, specializes in landscape painting, particularly with acrylic.
Experiencing her first year in Canada, the native of Vietnam is excited to exhibit her interpretations of natural scenes back home. She enjoys landscape work as it allows her to experience nature and discover the world around her.
Upon her arrival last fall she had to quarantine for 14 days due to COVID-19 restrictions, and used the time to create more artwork. “I decided to depict things that showed the most naturalistic elements of Vietnam,” she said, including a rice paddy field and a detailed drawing of a lotus, Vietnam’s national flower.
“The way I miss my hometown, I hope to connect that distance far away through my art.”
The art showcase, happening from June 1 to 20 at the Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre, is a perfect way to help students weighed down with restrictions and isolation of the pandemic to emerge and connect with other artists and the public, she said.
“It’s a really great chance for students to showcase their art from this dormant time during COVID. Creating art is a great way to relieve stress.” For many creative people, the use of colour in artwork is a way to portray their feelings, she added. “Painting gives me a sense of hope that even in the darkest days, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Among other participants in the show, Spectrum Community School international students from Germany, Julia Priever and Antonia Busch, will have some of their black and white film prints on exhibit.
Neither had much experience in photography beforehand, but relished the opportunity to try their hand at using and developing film.
“It’s such a great feeling. I never thought that my interest in photography or even art for that matter would be considered for public exhibition,” Busch told Spectrum fine arts teacher Rene Schwarz in an interview. “This show has propelled me to pursue buying my own film camera and continuing this form of art when I return home.”
Priever, who also plans to buy a film camera, said she loves the slow, planned approach film photography demands. “And having that time and effort displayed in a public gallery is very gratifying. It’s affirming and gives me a self-confidence that I didn’t expect art-making would do.”
Brenda Weatherston, a community arts programmer with the District of Saanich, is thrilled to see a return to public exhibitions for youth artists, whose unique voices can be a breath of fresh air.
“This is a great opportunity for community members to learn, listen, be inspired and maybe even get challenged,” she said.
The pieces will be on display June 1 to 20 during the centre’s opening hours, and a free welcome reception event is scheduled for June 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The reception provides an opportunity to meet the artists and listen to live music and spoken word performances by students from area high schools.
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