Ffrom Aug. 11 to Sept. 24, the Master of Fine Arts program of the University of Calgary held a graduate exhibition called “Embodied” displaying students’ artwork and their vision for the future.
The four artists in this year’s display were Nurgul Rodriguez, Morgan Campbell, Ziya Lin and Elmira Sarreshtehdari.
The four used either their bodies, gender, or time to define their insight on culture, social issues and politics.
“I want my art to express how to not be misunderstood by others, specifically human relations between communities, cultures and nationalities,” Rodriguez said.
“Art itself reminds me how to make the world a better place.”
Rodriguez created an art piece called “In a new land… Be longing” that portrayed her journey of immigration with her family from Turkey to California, and then to Canada.
She created “shoulders” using clay to depict the emotion of learning a new language and adapting to a new culture.
Campbell, another artist in the show, called her art “One Man Show.” She transformed herself into different gender-bending characters to cultivate her imagination with her own sense of normativity.
She developed different paintings of herself in different gender-roles to illuminate this experiment.
According to Campbell’s art description, her artwork discovered that “dismantling normative gender shatters personal identity into an array of immense possibilities, an idea that is simultaneously daunting and liberating.”
Lin created “Tamed III,” a series of drawings of different body parts drawn on scrolls of rice paper, demonstrating her view on activist feminist groups in China.
Lin used kitchen tools and drew the hair wrapping around the subject in her drawings to illustrate the fight for equal rights in China.
The final artist, Sarreshtehdari that produced a video using her body to express anxiety in contemporary times.
Her piece was called “Chrono -” and focused on the human psyche and how anxiety fits into a certain time and element.
The art was displayed in the Nickle Gallery, located on the U of C campus in the Taylor Family Digital Library, where students could enter in and experience the artwork and emotion presented by these four artists.
The MFA/BFA programs hold an art exhibition every year at the time of graduation and select artists from the program to participate. Admission is free.
“As a community, the art department has been a great place to explore myself becoming an artist,” Rodriguez said.
“Getting involved in becoming a scholar requires that you advocate your life as a grad student to complete your research and reach expectations.”
The four students are now graduated and continue their work as artists and researchers.