The search for artistic expression in times of uncertainty
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Visual Arts Exhibition at UWC Dilijan

March 29, Dilijan. A Visual Arts exhibition titled Fauhaus: a Retrospective was opened at UWC Dilijan featuring 27 artists from all over the world (Armenia, Syria/Turkey, Estonia, The UK, Vietnam, Italy, Russia, Brazil, China, Nepal, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Ukraine). The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Artsakh has greatly affected all in the UWCD community and has put many things in perspective, raising acute questions for students about the meaning of life, family, society, history, nature, cultural heritage and art. This exhibition provides an opportunity to see students’ genuine attempt to find some of the answers, but also puts it back on the audience to come away reflecting on these important issues. You can view the livestream of the opening via this link.

Visual Arts exhibition is an annual event that has been happening at the school since its opening in 2014 and acts as the culmination of the IB Visual Arts course. Visual Arts is a subject in which students are able to express themselves through a variety of artistic media such as painting, ceramics, collage, photography, printmaking and more. Students are able to try all artmaking methods, choose what works best for them and develop their own unique artistic path. This year the artists had set themselves a difficult task — to retain their vivid and wild individualities inspired by les Fauves (a group of early 20th-century modern artists) while maintaining a meticulous approach to the technical skill and craftsmanship, much like The Bauhaus group (an influential German art school). The result is what makes this collection of art pieces. 

“It is important to understand that the Visual Arts course is not a factory that produces artworks, but a creative lab where students are free to experiment, to ask questions, to fail and try again, to learn about the past, the present and imagine the future,” says Yaroslav Zabavskiy, Head of Arts at UWC Dilijan. “I believe these skills will be of high value in the unknown world of tomorrow that will demand flexibility, adaptability and creative thinking.

During the uncertain times of the pandemic madness and the war in Artsakh, I have had a few moments when I asked myself whether our efforts in Visual Arts are relevant and meaningful, whether our search for artistic expression can withstand the test of reality. Again and again, I have found the following to be true — the desire for a personal artistic expression is one of the most natural and most human qualities that we all have. Therefore, when times are hard and uncertain, art and creativity can help us find our way forward.”

"My exhibition is a travel around the world, starting from where I live to where I want to be. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the travelers who travel across countries to find themselves, one of them being me, to accompany the viewer. In general, the most challenging part of my journey as an artist was understanding the driving force behind my paintbrush. After longspun adventures, I came to realize that my art-making practice is a metaphor of nature, a door for viewers to an imaginary world that evokes inquiry. With each artwork, I am expressing my emotions and my identity, challenging the viewers to question the way they perceive themselves and the world.” says Margarita Mnatsakanyan, a second-year student from Armenia and one of the exhibited artists.

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Our alumnus Emilio Rosas Gutierrez (Mexico, UWCD'21) was awarded the Woodruff Scholarship from Emory University in Atlanta, USA, where he plans to major in art history or linguistics. During his two years in Dilijan, Emilio founded the mindfulness club at school, served on the Student and Community Councils and Sustainability Committee and was a facilitator for Dilijan Community Center’s art workshops with children.