While the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery remains closed during our provincial state of emergency, staff working remotely from home have organized and opened an online version of their annual exhibition of student artwork from across Waterloo Region that was cancelled for the first time in this tradition’s history due to COVID-19. Featuring artworks in a wide range of media by over fifty local students, Expressions 45: Rework/Revisit is now available for online viewing at kwag.ca/digital-exhibitions.
“Expressions has been an important part of our exhibition program for 45 years,” explains Shirley Madill (photo), Executive Director. “The COVID-19 pandemic may have prevented us from showcasing work by Waterloo Region students physically this year, but it has not impeded us from sharing their creativity online.”
In responding to this year’s theme of Rework/Revisit, participating students have shared works that have vital resonance today with the ongoing challenge of adapting creatively to an ever-changing reality. Among the stories the young artists included with their creations are candid statements of new skills learned, shifts in creative decisions, and in the words of Grade 8 Vista Hills Public School student Amelia Shields, a desire to inspire positivity and hope: “I want my work to bring magic and happiness into people’s lives and I know that, in these challenging times, we all could use a little magic!”
“Expressions has always been an opportunity for KWAG to collaborate with local teachers to showcase the talent of students from across our region,” notes Stephen Lavigne, Director of Public Programs, who commends the many teachers who responded to KWAG’s recent call for digital submissions to ensure their students’ works would be included in spite of ongoing school closures. “Presenting Expressions 45 digitally allows a larger audience to witness the creativity that our next generation of young artists has to offer.”
“I am always impressed with the calibre of work produced by students in our schools,” adds Shirley Madill. “I encourage all to take a moment, especially during this challenging time, to journey through their works of art online!”