My Life at Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong 2011-2013

Every year at LPC, in the end of their fourth term, the Y2 Art Students set up an exhibition with all the works they created during their two-year IB course. This is a big event for them, characterized by night-long last-minute creations, fights over exhibition space or time management and the general excitement to finally present their artwork. Throughout the last two years, we non-artists could always get short sneak-peaks or even helped our peers with photographs, installations etc., but since we are technically not aloud into the art room, this was the first time we saw many of the art works.67592_10151525977264287_719386778_n

As last year, the exhibition took place in the big gym, where our maintenance had laid out carpet and the art students had installed white walls to separate their individual exhibition space. Each student’s collection of art work was based on a broader theme that the students had chosen in the beginning of their art course and later on consistently explored through different media and art techniques. The themes included corruption, childhood, phobias, war, “the shadows of human nature” etc. I found that this year’s themes were overall very dark and depressive, which, in my opinion, cast a sort of shadow over the exhibition, making me leave the gym in a somber and pensive mood. However, I still very much enjoyed looking at the paintings, sketches and more, admiring the deep thought, high dedication and large amount of time that their creators had put into them.DSC03485

There are some works or exhibitions that specially struck me. One of them was the overall work of Laerke, my co-year from Denmark. She had worked very hard on making her exhibition as interactive as possible, consistently addressing the spectator directly and involving them in her art works. For example, she had a four piece art piece about children’s secrets; three paintings in a style that appeared like they had been drawn by a child, revealing shocking and despairing secrets of their health or family conditions, followed by a framed mirror asking: “Every child has a secret – what is yours?” She had also built a very colorful crib of the size of a bed for us visitors to sit and lie on and watch the world around from a toddler’s perspective. Another piece of hers was a gigantic blackboard, on which she had glued three collages, each showing a child presenting small, colorful “beans” to the camera. The task was to find the difference between the three collages and write it onto the black board around the pictures. There were many ideas, but the one I found most convincing, also in the context of the overall theme, was that the boy in the second collage was holding candy, while the other two held medicine.

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DSC03462Another artist who’s work I found particularly intriguing was Minh’s collection based on the Vietnam War. In his “artist statement”, Minh wrote: “Art for me is a way of self-caring, of demanding vigilance of the self; it gave me the opportunity to explore my heritage – the Vietnam War. Inspired by the efforts of my Grandfather who fought in the conflict, my purpose was to express my relationship with the Vietnam War and to commemorate those who fought it.” Inspired by a wide range of artists, including Emil Nolde, Banksy and Andy Warhol, he had even go so far to use his own blood in his art work. That was originally as painful as it sounds, him repeatedly stabbing his finger and pressing it onto the canvas – until someone advised him to go to the campus nurse for her to extract some blood from him in a more professional way, which he could then use for the rest of the canvas. Dedication level at 2000, I’d say. His art work, featuring mainly skulls, Mickey mouse, the American flag and other symbols or icons of the Vietnam War, was greatly created in a pop art style and found high recognition among the exhibition visitors, many of us students asking him for pieces of his collection or bidding for them in the silent auction.

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DSC03486Other students artists who’s work I really liked were Shani, who’s work was equally based on the conflict at home, in Israel, including two pieces titled “People I Hate In My Country” I and II; Lisa, who portrayed the life and emotional struggle of her friend back in Belarus, who lived in an orphanage; Jason, who’s work can most easily be summarized as “mirror of youth”; and Heather, who had depicted a variet of phobias, manias and other human struggles in her art, including a painting of a pig eating a baby, as well as a photograph about “shower phobia”, showing a girl in a coat and umbrella under the shower. Overall the art works reflect high precision and deep personal reflections; the exhibition is truly a space to stop and reflect, wander and wonder – about oneself, life, humanity and the world as whole.

Group photo rights to © Rachel Leung

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