In Our Words

Place, space and Art: How Visual Art can shape our identity
Place, space and Art: How Visual Art can shape our identity

Place, space and Art: How Visual Art can shape our identity

by Emma Justice, Visual Art and Theory of Knowledge teacher

"Identity, needs to be created, just as works of art are created."
Zygmunt Bauman, The art of life, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2008.

This is a busy time for the Visual Art department, with February being the month in which we participate in many exhibitions. Elementary students have just completed showcasing their work in the British house, the Kanto region Artscape exhibition is currently being held in Azabu, Tokyo, and the Senior Visual Art students are working hard to finalize their studio pieces for their, arguably, biggest moment in the Diploma Program, curating their own collection of work for their graduate exhibition.

There is a mix of emotions and a busy atmosphere in the fourth floor art rooms. Panic sets in over completing work on time, a positive pressure is felt as the students become more sure of their work and get closer to realizing their end results. Collaboration and partnership become more visible as the students work together to curate and share their space; a balance of individual identities and adaptation to work together as a young artist collective.

For myself, this month I see the shaping and consolidation of every person in the graduating class and the journey they have undertaken as a young practising artist. I pause, in between the busy schedule, to reflect and appreciate how much of a journey this has been for them. This year in particular, I have noticed more and more students using their studio work not just as a method of expressing and exploring their own creativity, but also as a vehicle for understanding who they are as an individual. Many students choose to explore an identity-based conceptual grounding for their collection of work through the IBDP Visual Art programme. This approach gives them a powerful and valuable mechanism to form and communicate their values and beliefs in verbal, written and visual ways. Visual Art is a subject capable of not only providing an individual with an outlet to process personal concepts and values, but it also refines these concepts and produces a creative response. This process can give students power and control in the decisions they take to select the best artistic outcome that suits them as individuals. I see this process in line with their growing maturity as the graduating class prepares to move onto their next step, and this is one of the reasons that the artwork on the wall is only a part of the whole journey the senior students have taken in the last two years.

We gladly invite you to our graduate exhibition, held this year in Design Festa Gallery East, Harajuku. It is a friendly and busy gallery space which allows the student's freedom to curate their own space with their peers, in a real-world environment. While you look at the wide variety of work on the walls, please take the time to look through their journals, notebooks, historical studies and portfolios, which gives an insight into their formative journey, and also into the individuals they have become.

YIS IBDP Visual Art Graduate Exhibition
March 7-9, 2018
Design Festa Gallery East, Harajuku, Tokyo
(a short walk from Meiji Jingu-mae station)
Exhibition Reception: March 8, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM.
Gallery opening hours: 11:00 AM-8:00 PM daily.