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Using Art to Tackle Social Issues

Grade 11/12 students can view their pieces in the Senior School Learning Commons starting on March 3 at 3:30 p.m.
Erica Patrick ’21 will be one of two students to display artwork at the 2021 IB Art Exhibition from March 3 to 9. The show provides Erica with the opportunity to share her take on current social issues, like dealing with social media, beauty standards and their effects, creativity versus capitalism and more. 

“My art is mostly to do with people; there are quite a few portraits,” Erica said. “Even if there isn’t a face, it’s usually to do with emotions and social issues. So it’s exploring social issues and the effects they have on us.” 

Erica showcases a variety of mediums in her exhibition, including acrylic paint, digital art, pencil crayon, sculpture and more. She reflected on social issues as a source of inspiration. 

“It’s a way to get my emotions out on something tangible,” she said. “I wanted to visualize those problems and make it easier to understand. I also really like psychology, and drawing and painting people, so that helped.” 

Having put a lot of emotion and feeling into her pieces, Erica hopes that her art can push people to look deeper into things.

“I want people to analyze what is going on in their lives more, rather than just what is surface level,” she said. “And don’t take things at face value. A lot of this is connected to mental health, and I think it’s an important part of life and something to really take care of. I just hope I can inspire more people to think about that in their lives and to have compassion for others facing the same things.” 

Erica says her favourite visual piece is an acrylic vanitas painting she titled “Spilled.” 

“It’s a historical style, and essentially a self-portrait, but it has all these meanings of death and existentialism tied into it which I like how it looks,” she described. “I made two digital self-portraits and one is about the feeling that everyone is watching you all the time and you feel like you are being judged. I think it’s very relatable because most people have insecurities about people paying attention to them.” 

Erica hasn't decided if she will pursue art as a career but knows it will be something she continues to do as a hobby because of how much she enjoys it. 

“I like how freeing it is, and a lot of the times you are making art for yourself so you don’t have to feel pressured,” she said. “It’s also a great way to just get out your emotions and put them onto paper.”  

Watch for a link to be shared of an online photo gallery of the work of Erica and her classmate Giulia Giommi once the exhibition has been set up. Staff and Grade 11/12 students can view their pieces in the Senior School Learning Commons starting on March 3 at 3:30 p.m., while the rest of the cohorts can check it out the exhibition throughout the week.  

“It will be a great opportunity to find out what we have been doing for the past two years because there isn’t a lot of opportunity for that in visual arts,” said Erica. “This year it’s a bit different and harder, but you can walk through looking at the paintings. It’s very relaxed. I also think it’s interesting to see what others are doing and to learn more about them.” 


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