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High school students’ art showcased at Vernon gallery

Gallery Vertigo hosted an art show with more than 100 works of art by local students
Miles Anderson displays his art piece, Growing from the Ashes, about his transition, at Gallery Vertigo in Vernon Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

The talent and creativity of local youth is on display, and taken to a new level.

Gallery Vertigo’s walls were covered with more than 100 student artworks, open for viewing until Jan. 28.

It’s an outreach program that Gallery Vertigo has undertaken for a number of years.

“This year there’s a lot of artwork that needs to be seen and the kids have been using all kinds of different media,” said Brigitte Red, the gallery’s executive director. “There’s one in particular that really astounds me and that’s an articulated mannequin. The student actually took the wires and created the actual figurine, it’s something to see.”

Red said this year’s artwork was “elevated,” even more than in past years.

“I think the students have had the opportunity to really search inside themselves for their inspiration, and even though the pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of us, the creativity in here shows you that a pandemic can’t stop that creativity,” Red added.

Grade 11 W.L. Seaton student Keeley Irwin said she saw her artworks “in her mind,” and used acrylic paint to bring them to life.

She was inspired by her zine, called The Other Eye, which she co-creates with fellow Seaton student Seamus Powell. The zine collects art submitted by students and neatly lays them out.

Some of the students drew from personal experiences to create their artworks.

Miles Anderson, a trans male, created his piece, Growing From the Ashes, as a way of expressing his transition and self-expression, “showing that I am more than just my skin and my body.”

Anderson says the piece — which has a 3-D quality and makes use of a variety of media, including candy wrappers — is a means of showing that “growth comes with change and vice versa.”

There’s also a funny story behind the name.

“I almost burnt my school down making this,” Anderson said, explaining he was using a power tool when it started smoking.

“It’s beautiful, seeing all the different colours and the different media that people used, it’s inspiring,” Anderson said of the exhibit.

“If people want to do art, don’t give up, it takes time and it takes a lot of effort.”

Simon Challen, who teaches art at Seaton, was at the recent opening of the art show.

“It’s always nice to see (students’ art) up on the walls, I get to see it on the school desks but it’s another thing altogether when it’s up on the walls and the kids actually get to see it, and other people get to see it,” he said. “It’s great when they get a chance to share it.”

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Brendan Shykora
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Keeley Irwin stands before her artworks at Gallery Vertigo in Vernon at a high school art show Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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