Students express political views through art

Claire Oetinger’s work at a recent Yosemite High exhibit.
Claire Oetinger’s work at a recent Yosemite High exhibit. Submitted photo

Yosemite High School students in Rebecca Hardison’s I.B. History, Ryan Collins’ AP Environmental Studies and Evan Higgins’ Visual Arts classes held a well-attended showing of their artwork in the Badger Art Gallery in the Jack and Jane Gyer Art Building May 3.

The exhibit by the 30 students was titled “How Long Will This Take?”

Hardison’s students have been studying International Civil Rights Movements from the 1950s through the 1970s.

“The students were asked to respond to one of these movements using poems, art, songs, collages, or any other art form,” Hardison said. “Each student also contributed at least one protest sign and explanation for an issue they care about which is happening today.”

Protest signs included “We Once Were Immigrants,” and “We Want Harmony not Hysteria - Keep America Out of Syria,” along with one for smaller government, and signs for and against President Trump.

Visual Arts teacher Higgins introduced students to different forms and eras of political art from World War II to the present, and asked students to make an art piece that responded to one of their concerns.

“Art 1 and 2 were asked to make political posters about any issue that they would like to change about their world,” Higgins said. “The upper division classes have made an artwork that responds to the prompt, ‘How long will this take?’ They also collaborated on a group sculpture called ‘Vanquished by Light.’”

Collins’ students presented information and visuals that reflect upon some of the research that they have conducted throughout the course.

“One of my student’s guiding ideas says it best - ‘If it is going to be cheap, easy, and convenient, it probably isn’t sustainable,’” Collins said.

“Remember when you were young and everything seemed so obvious - no one should go hungry and we all should be equal to one another,” said Higgins. “Nature is a miracle and it should be cared for no matter the cost. Then you looked out at the world that you inherited and realized that war, famine, inequality has always existed along with human folly. These YHS students collectively ask ‘How Long Will it Take?’”

YHS Correspondent