PHUKET: For most, art is just a break, a temporary escape from the daily routine, but three British International School Phuket (BISP) IB Visual Arts students want to make it the theme of their lives. In fact, thanks to their own determination and the support of their school, they are already on the right path with the upcoming BISP 2015 IB Art Exhibition.
The exhibition, which runs from March 23 to March 27, will see the three students – Mimi
Siriwangsanti, Jaratchai “JJ” Chongjaroenjai and Boram Lee – presenting their works to the public for the very first time.
The young artists call themselves “Three Artsketeers” – a name that provides a much needed courageous boost for the trio, who are still trying to cope with the stress and anxiety of having their oeuvre out in the open, for everyone to see.
“I’m quite nervous, but also excited. This is the first time I’m showing my art to the public. My parents are coming as well,” says Boram, who likes to draw from her Korean heritage during the creative process.
“Korea represents me the most. I only came to Phuket three years ago, and I didn’t know any English, so it’s Korean culture that has impacted me the most.”
Her fellow Artsketeer JJ is mostly anxious about his parents’ reaction to his pieces.
“What I fear the most is showing my artwork to my parents for the first time. My parents disapprove of my choice of [pursuing] art, as they are very business oriented,” JJ says. “I just want to see them happy.”
JJ, who is considering becoming a graphic designer in the future, utilizes his art to talk about identity and social issues.
“I mostly talk about flows in human nature. I explore many different art forms, such as installations, but I’m most confident with pen drawing,” JJ says.
Mimi shares JJ’s fondness for graphic design and finds inspiration in the works of contemporary Thai artists. Her intensely colorful works have a pop-art quality to them and deal with a vast array of topics.
“I’m interested in the identity of people and how we perceive each other in different ways,” Mimi says.
Out of the trio, it’s Mimi who seems to be the least concerned with showcasing her pieces.
“Success is being happy with your work and letting other people understand it. I’m happy with my work, but I feel I can still develop,” she says.
To help nurture that development, BISP art teacher Kathy Coulson encourages the students to experiment with a variety of media.
“I want them to do installations, push beyond their boundaries. This is the true challenge, and a learning experience,” she explains, adding that the IB Visual Arts course rigorously challenges every student to expand themselves creatively and visually.
“To pass the course, the students have to show personal reflection and cultural and historical awareness, as well as artistic quality.”
But while all of this is quite challenging and time consuming – as confirmed by the students themselves, who all agree that art takes up most of their time and attention – studying art is not time wasted.
According to Kathy, skills acquired during the course can be applied to other life activities.
“The world of art helps the students expand their personal boundaries, their critical thinking skills and problem solving skills,” she says.
“It’s a mind-opening experience that makes them ready to tackle new challenges.”
The exhibition, which runs from March 23-27, is open to the general public, with the Grand Opening at 2:45pm on March 23.
— Maciek Klimowicz
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