Visual arts exhibition opens at UWC Dilijan

A Visual Arts exhibitiontitled Fauhaus: a Retrospective was opened at UWC Dilijan featuring 27 artists from all over the world (Armenia, Syria, Estonia, The UK, Vietnam, Italy, Russia, Brazil, China, Nepal, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Ukraine). The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Artsakh has greatly affected all in the UWCD community and has put many things in perspective, raising acute questions for students about the meaning of life, family, society, history, nature, cultural heritage and art. This exhibition provides an opportunity to see students’ genuine attempt to find some of the answers, but also puts it back on the audience to come away reflecting on these important issues.

Visual Arts exhibition is an annual event that has been happening at the school since its opening in 2014 and acts as the culmination of the IB Visual Arts course. Visual Arts is a subject in which students are able to express themselves through a variety of artistic media such as painting, ceramics, collage, photography, printmaking and more. Students are able to try all artmaking methods, choose what works best for them and develop their own unique artistic path. This year the artists had set themselves a difficult task — to retain their vivid and wild individualities inspired by les Fauves (a group of early 20th-century modern artists) while maintaining a meticulous approach to the technical skill and craftsmanship, much like The Bauhaus group (an influential German art school). The result is what makes this collection of art pieces. 

“It is important to understand that the Visual Arts course is not a factory that produces artworks, but a creative lab where students are free to experiment, to ask questions, to fail and try again, to learn about the past, the present and imagine the future,” said Yaroslav Zabavskiy, Head of Arts at UWC Dilijan.

“I believe these skills will be of high value in the unknown world of tomorrow that will demand flexibility, adaptability and creative thinking. During the uncertain times of the pandemic madness and the war in Artsakh, I have had a few moments when I asked myself whether our efforts in Visual Arts are relevant and meaningful, whether our search for artistic expression can withstand the test of reality. Again and again, I have found the following to be true — the desire for a personal artistic expression is one of the most natural and most human qualities that we all have. Therefore, when times are hard and uncertain, art and creativity can help us find our way forward.”

“My exhibition is a travel around the world, starting from where I live to where I want to be. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the travelers who travel across countries to find themselves, one of them being me, to accompany the viewer. In general, the most challenging part of my journey as an artist was understanding the driving force behind my paintbrush. After longs pun adventures, I came to realize that my art-making practice is a metaphor of nature, a door for viewers to an imaginary world that evokes inquiry. With each artwork, I am expressing my emotions and my identity, challenging the viewers to question the way they perceive themselves and the world,” said Margarita Mnatsakanyan, a second-year student from Armenia and one of the exhibited artists.

“Visual Arts was a challenging and pleasing journey. Challenging since I have to keep questioning myself about the theme I want to tackle, the message I want to deliver through my art and especially what art media I should use to best convey my thoughts. Pleasing because I enjoy the art-making process and I love how I understand my inner self more deeply on this journey. UWCD has offered me the best opportunity to explore art, the teachers have instructed me with care and understanding, and if it was not for the facility and the teachers, it would not be possible for me to follow arts and hold my exhibition,” said Tam Phan (Vietnam, UWCD’21).

“The Visual Arts course at UWCD is unique — it’s the only time I felt the genuine freedom of being able to create what I wanted, without the constraints of a fixed perspective on arts. Collectively, this led to an incredibly interesting bunch of different art styles, concepts and ideas throughout the students, which I personally find very inspiring! Everyone has their own voice, and this course was very successful in bringing that out in everyone,” said Cecilia Schmidt Pauluk (Brazil, UWCD’21).

“My passion for digital photography developed further during my two-year IB Visual Arts journey in UWCD. Here, I explored the world of analog photography and darkroom, had the unique opportunity to experiment in different mediums such as ceramics, linocut, acrylics and watercolor. After finding my medium, photography, experimentations continued in the collage-making process inspired by Peter Beard and Sergei Parajanov. This journey has taught me to be able to critically investigate different artists and develop as an individual artist,” said Mariam Sargsyan (Amenia, UWCD’21).

“The biggest gain in my Visual Arts journey is my transition to abstract art. Coming from a country whose art education focuses heavily on drawing realistically, I found it challenging to develop a concept in my art at first. Luckily, with the encouragement of my teachers and classmates, I started to pay more attention to what I want to convey in an artwork rather than copy something from life to paper. I found more possibilities in my art through this process,” said Yunqi Zuo (China, UWCD’21).

“The most enjoyable aspect of my experience in the Visual Arts course at UWC Dilijan has been the feeling of belonging to a community of artists which was created while all students worked tightly together in a shared creative space in our studios. It was especially motivating to see everyone around you work, share and celebrate their artworks. Preparing for the exhibition was another stage of the course that I loved. Everyone was moving around, arranging their pieces in different corners of the studios and helping others. All of these movements brought so much life and joy into the studios, which made all of us much more excited for the opening of the exhibition. Now, I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family visit the exhibition and share their thoughts about my and my friends’ works,” said Edgar Martirosyan (Amenia, UWCD’21)

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