Ponies, tree-climbing and dirty tricks: us kids know

Thursday was a busy night for Fine Arts undergraduates. Two vernissages and a number of contemplative work to witness. First stop: the FOFA gallery for the opening of Our Aim is True (until April 20).

Although there was no noted thematic to the nine visual artists’ works, I sensed a great deal of empathy on their part to reminisce on their juvenile-selves. The mind of a child is one that is highly underrated (the wonderful Japanese film Nobody Knows can attest to that), and one that is difficult be recreate at a later time. I noticed an effort in a number of the pieces to look back at times gone but not forgotten.

Whether in the photographs of Erik Osberg, where three twenty-something siblings are tree-climbing and caught smoking in the garage, or in his brother Carl’s oil painting of teenage lovers lying in the greenest of green grass, kissing. Even in the dirty pony reaching for a cut-off penis on a plate, as is the mixed-media piece by David Laquerre, do we see an intention to use children’s artefacts to convey gender identity.

Laurie Kang’s photographs entitled My Father and I relive the fun in recreating. Indeed, the exhibition is a very pleasant one to witness and that works alongside the students’ developing artistic approach. To share memories is an activity that, at best, relieves and amuses. Perhaps by solidifying them in time as these artists are doing, makes the pieces all the more memorable.

Second stop: the VAV gallery for the opening of Exhib/IT, which includes works from students enrolled in the HIV/AIDS course. A number of them chose photography to exercise their voice on sex and safety. Not surprisingly, the windows of the gallery were covered in black boards to keep the explicit content from public view. The message behind the show however, resounded outside the gallery.

The scene is quite elaborate, and while some have chosen to use video, such as Communications undergraduate Steffanie Brantner or Anuska Martins, most of the participants in this exhibition chose to make the most out of their allowed space.

Elsa Lambert for her installation piece In Bed With. has recreated a small messy (read: ordinary) bedroom. We witness panties and an answering machine with messages from an insisting lover.

It could be your bedroom, or it could be that of a person living with HIV. The ordinary nature of the room then, strikes our disillusions in regards to the illness.

Overall, regardless of the slightly disorganized nature of Exhib/IT, the pieces pull off quite a punch because they blend into one another in a common cause, one that is disarmingly still hushed by our society. In Anuska Matins’ video documentary, One after the other, teens affirm that it isn’t just up to teachers to educate kids on AIDS but up to their parents as well. Unlike the VAV gallery, perhaps parents should open their windows up on the world.

Our Aim is True until April 20 at the FOFA gallery.

Exhib/IT until April 13 at the VAV gallery.


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