Swift Current exhibition showcases art by high school students

The public reception for the High School Art Show took place at the West Wing Gallery in Swift Current, May 14.

By Matthew Liebenberg

High school students are showcasing their art in an exhibition hosted by the Art Gallery of Swift Current (AGSC).

The public reception for the High School Art Show took place at the West Wing Gallery, May 14.

The show features artworks by students participating in visual arts programs within the Chinook School Division.

Morghie Flaterud, the AGSC programming and administration coordinator, noted that it can be intimidating for artists to show their work publicly for the first time. She is therefore grateful that students are sharing their work with the community.

“Each year I absolutely love seeing all the artwork that comes from the high school students in our area,” she said. “This show is a celebration of the creativity and artistic endeavours from our young artists.”

There are 160 individual artworks in the show, with some students having several works on display. It varies from pastel and graphite pencil drawings to acrylic paint and watercolour paintings as well as mixed media works and three sculptural works created from Lego.

The majority of the works are from visual arts students at Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS) and the other submissions are from homeschool students.

“I’m very happy we have homeschool kids participating this year,” she said. “I would like that to continue.”

The AGSC has been hosting this show for nearly 50 years to support the creative endeavours of students.

“We think it’s very important to encourage young artists to continue to do art,” Flaterud said. “One of the ways we feel we can encourage young artists is by hosting this show and getting their work out to the public, showing off the talent we have in our community. It’s just a way to encourage our students to keep going.”

Twin sisters Kassidy and Kristen Manjoo, who are SCCHS Grade 10 students, are pleased to participate in this show for the first time.

“My art is being recognized and other people can see it,” Kristen said. “I’m just happy that I can share it with other people.”

Kassidy noted that there is a bit of sibling rivalry between them, but it does not get too serious.

“It’s a little bit of a competition, but I think we’re all really good in our own way,” she said.

The twins are following in the footsteps of their two older sisters, who have also enjoyed doing art. Kassidy felt their interest in art is a result of their mother’s influence.

“Our mom likes doing art and so I think it just passed on to us,” she said. “We all have found a passion for it.”

Three of Kristen’s works from the visual arts course are in the show. One was created for the continuous contour portraits class, the other for the music abstracts class and the third for the watercolour polaroid project.

Her continuous contour portraits work was created in mixed media. She used pencil to draw the faces of different people on a watercolour background. Those faces include her twin sister, friends and interesting faces she found on the internet.

“I really enjoyed drawing them,” she said. “I just like expressing myself.”

Kassidy has one artwork on display in the show, which she created for the core memory abstract project. Students were asked to create an abstract work based on their memory of a past event. Her work represents a memory about her first experience on the Zipper ride at the fair. She enjoys using art to express her feelings.

“It’s a really cool way to express my emotions and to put it into a picture instead of words,” she said. “I like to use art to express my emotions.”

Mandy Herrick, the visual arts teacher at SCCHS, attended the public reception for the show. She felt it is important to display and celebrate the artworks of students. She remembers the first time her work was displayed when she was in Grade 9 and what it meant to her.

“My art was on a wall and that was definitely one of the catalysts to feeling like I really believe that I was an artist,” she said.

She noted that each student in the show is on an individual artistic journey and growing on their own path. The display of their work helps to create a sense of being an artist.

“It’s really important for the students to internalize that once you’re an artist, you’re an artist for life,” she said. “So it’s a memorable experience that they don’t forget even years later that they were showcased as an artist. I think that sticks with them and then hopefully gives them confidence to remain an artist into their adulthood and really that’s the purpose of the arts, it’s to keep that within them.”

The High School Art Show at the West Wing Gallery takes place until June 9. The gallery is located at Kinetic Exhibition Park. Admission is free and gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is open on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. pending volunteer availability. Check the AGSC social media for Sunday updates.