Event: Exhibition highlights self-portraits by high school students

Local high school students will showcase their artistic skills through a new exhibition featured at Rodman Hall Art Centre over the next few weeks.

Face Value: An Exploration of the Self-Portrait through a Multimodal Lens officially opens on Thursday, Jan. 17, with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at Rodman Hall. Light refreshments will be served with remarks about the project at 5 p.m. The exhibition runs until Feb. 24.

The self-portraits on display were created by 22 Grade 11 and 12 Visual Arts students from Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines. Each piece of art began with an investigation of diverse materials and how individuals can be defined in a visual representation.

Self-portraits have become a regular part of daily life for many, with smartphones making it possible to snap selfies at any time.

“The Face Value project aimed to explore the use of traditional and non-traditional approaches when it comes to creating self-portraits,” said Peter Vietgen, Associate Professor of Art Education in the Department of Educational Studies. Vietgen partnered with Jennifer Rowsell, Canada Research Chair and Professor in the Department of Educational Studies, on the initiative.

“After researching how the portrait has emerged from its traditional roots to today’s pop culture obsession with the selfie, participating students used found objects, mixed media, oil and acrylic paints, and a variety of other materials as tools for expressing the creative process,” said Vietgen.

Face Value is the fifth and final project in a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight-funded research study, Maker Literacies, led by Rowsell.

“On the whole, the Maker Literacies research seeks to apply multimodal and maker approaches to teaching and learning by providing teachers and students with technology and professional expertise to produce a variety of assignments, such as learning coding to create a digital story, producing a documentary film and designing, producing and developing a marketing plan for a board game,” explained Rowsell.

The Maker Literacies study has included several Niagara schools since 2017 and has involved several Brock faculty members.

Image caption: Students from Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines have created a series of self-portrait art pieces, including the pictured piece by Jocelyn Tweedle, to be displayed as part of a new Rodman Hall exhibition.

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