Advanced Art Students Explore Personal Themes and Draw on Life Experiences

At its core, King's Advanced Art Program is about risk taking. The program, which currently runs through Advanced Art 3, is designed to encourage Grade 12 students to try, fail and problem solve their way to results. The process is tough.

"Mistakes are when the most growth takes place," said Ran Lapolla, Chair of King's Visual Arts Department. "With the Advanced Art Program we have created an environment that's very conducive to personal growth and the realization of potential. It is a very authentic learning experience."

The heart of the learning lies in the themes students choose to explore throughout their final year. The results of the academic journey were presented in the annual capstone event: The Senior Art Colloquium, on Thursday, April 26. This year six students - Olivia Begg, Olivia De Chiara, Ariana Loret de Mola, Annika Ozizmir, Henry Smith, and Alison Wheeler -shared their projects, walking the audience through their challenges and breakthroughs.

The students start the school year with a detailed rubric according to their chosen theme and tailored to their skills and objectives. This year's participants examined myth, chaos, memory, acceptance, escapism, wonder and illusions drawing on their own life experiences, knowledge, curiosity and hopes.

Annika Ozizmir's theme focused on perception as she set out to challenge both herself and her audience to question their perspective. "My goal was to create an immersive experience that would fool the eye and stimulate the viewer's curiosity," she said.

Over the course of her study, Annika created optical illusions using still images that play tricks on the eye by appearing to be moving, or appearing at first glance to represent one concept but on closer examination revealing others.

The process of creating her project deepened her understanding of art as an inspiration for wonder with the potential to transport. The result is a body of work that forces viewers to question reality. Annika's work ultimately presents a risk to the viewer similar to that of the Advanced Art Program challenge itself, a nod to just how successful this program is.

Further proof of the program's success is found in the demand: student interest has generated so much momentum that Advanced Art 4 will debut next year, with rising seniors entering their fourth year of advanced study of art. This triumph is a reflection of the Visual Arts Department's commitment to guiding students on an intellectual journey that has the potential for deeper conceptual development than the Visual Arts team could have imagined when they designed the program.

"The quality of craftsmanship, the quality of creative and conceptual thinking, the quality of how the work is designed, all of it is incredible. The standards are high, and it is different for each person, yet the students really rise to the challenge and deliver very cutting-edge work," said Ms. Lapolla. "To see the passion and commitment of the students yield an entirely new level to the program with Art 4, that is very exciting and very impressive."