Art by Surrey Secondary School Students
Sydney Trotman, Fallen Sisters, 2020, digital photography

Art by Surrey Secondary School Students

Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, BC - To April 30

by Sanjana Karthik

At Surrey Art Gallery, it has been a spring tradition since 1983 to exhibit the art of local youth. Helping to bridge the gap between schools and the art world, this show of student art, organized in partnership with the Surrey School District and Surrey Art Teachers Association, is celebrated through assorted programs and workshops for teachers and students.

The pandemic has resulted in a shift not only in the themes of these art pieces, but also in the method by which they are commemorated. This year the gallery will be celebrating youth art through the creation of a video, in which students and teachers acknowledge what value art holds for them.

The current show features 54 pieces in media ranging from collage to drawing, painting and photography. Works fall into the categories of still life, portraiture, abstraction and more. Diverse subjects include femininity, body parts, architecture, fantastical and urban worlds, media, the environment, and nature as well.

Including the pandemic, directly referenced in several pieces, the artworks reveal young creators in touch with current events and crises. Melting Heart is one example of the many art pieces in the exhibition that resonated with me. It portrays the societal issue revolving around the environment, and the melting of the glaciers. The heart is used to demonstrate a level of “love” and “passion” that should surround this topic. The environment, which can be considered the “heart” of our world, is portrayed here as slowly dissipating in the hands of global warming.

Another essential social issue is captured by an artist’s work of five digital photos in a frame titled Fallen Sisters, which informs viewers of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and children. The red dresses are captured here to showcase an isolated and lonesome image, as there are no bodies to fill the clothing. According to the artist’s statement, “the red dress symbolizes the missing soul.”

Sanjana Karthik is a Grade 11 student in Surrey who is very active in her community and has been publicly recognized for her volunteer contributions.

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