Molly Taylor

Molly Taylor

Youth art show focuses on identity

Dazzle Camouflage art exhibition runs on Thursday and Friday at the Nanaimo Art Gallery.

Over the last four weeks, 10 teenagers have been hanging out in downtown Nanaimo.

From Monday to Friday, the teens meet at exactly the same place at the exact same time.

Once at their meeting spot, the teens engage in all kinds of creative and artistic activity under the supervision of Nanaimo Art Gallery art education coordinator Yvonne Vander Kooi.

Since July 20, the teenagers have been participating in Dazzle Camouflage, a four-week contemporary art immersion program hosted at the gallery’s Art Lab.

“It was exciting for me to work with these youths,” Vander Kooi said.

The participating art students, who range from 15-19 in age, are Haley Anderson, Celena Barnes, Jacob Burgoyne-King, Iringo Duha, Sydney Howlett, Jordan Moes, Daniel Puglas, Molly Taylor, Zoey Thompson and Charlotte Zhang.

Tonight (Aug. 13), the 10 teenagers will be showcasing their work at the Dazzle Camouflage Art Exhibition at the Art Lab. The show is a culmination of the teens’ work during the Dazzle Camouflage program, which required the students to create individual pieces as well as a group piece.

“I am just looking forward to looking at everyone’s pieces put together beside each other and seeing how everyone reacts [to them],” said Moes, 16.

Over the course of the program, the teenagers were exposed to a variety of different art forms including painting, video, stop animation, drawing, sculpture, photography, performance and design. The program also explored the notion of identity, transformation and disguise.

“An important component was exposing the youths to contemporary art, so sharing with them what is happening in art and culture today,” Vander Kooi said.Story continues below

Dazzle Camouflage Photos of the participants in the Dazzle Camouflage. Molly Taylor, back left, Daniel Puglas, Celena Barnes, Charlotte Zhang, Zoey Thompson, Iringo Duha, Haley Anderson, Jacob Burgoyne-King, Jordan Moes, Yvonne Vander Kooi and Sydney Howlett put their paints down for a team photo inside the Nanaimo Art Galleryâ??s Art Lab.originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 425Charlotte Zhang draws inside the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Zhang is one of 10 teenagers participating in the Dazzle Camouflage program at Art Lab.originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 424Celena Barnes, left and Molly Taylor work on their projects. originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 425Iringo Duha paints a picture. Duha is one of the 10 teenage participants in the Dazzle Camouflage program.originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 929Jordan Moes, left sits with Daniel Puglas in front of a computer. The two are working on a stop motion animation video, which will be part of the Dazzle Camouflage art exhibition.originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 424Haley Anderson, front, and Jacob Burgoyne-King paint a large mural. originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 929Zoey Thompson shows one of her photographs on her DSLR camera. Photography was one of the components of Dazzle Camouflage. originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 928Zoey Thompson holds one of her photographs in the lobby the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Art Lab.originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 929ydney Howlett paints a sculpture. originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 928Molly Taylor, back left, Daniel Puglas, Celena Barnes, Charlotte Zhang, Zoey Thompson, Iringo Duha, Haley Anderson, Jacob Burgoyne-King, Jordan Moes, Yvonne Vander Kooi and Sydney Howlett pose for a group photo. originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMwidth 628height 424

Photo gallery best viewed on a desktop computer.Earlier in the year Vander Kooi went out and promoted the Dazzle Camouflage program at area high schools. That is how a number of the teens, including Thompson, 17, became interested in the program.

“I was just really intrigued by it,” she said. “My photography program at school is being cut next year.”

During the first week, the students had the opportunity to study under Vancouver-based filmmaker and photographer Brian Lye, who shared concepts and ideas using film and stop animation. In the following weeks, the students heard from other artists including Elizabeth Milton and lessLie.

Duha, 17, came into the program fond of painting, but now has an appreciation for other art forms.

“Before it was just painting, but I got really, really into stop-motion animation, which I did not expect to like it whatsoever,” Duha said.The teens all say that the program was worthwhile and that they enjoyed working with each other.

“We all really connected quickly because we had this one goal in mind,” Barnes, 17, said. “It was really nice to meet everyone and I really liked working with the artists.”

Zhang, 15, says the program taught her to push the boundaries artistically.

“I’ve always known that art can be anything, but I’ve kind of had my eyes opened,” she said.

For Thompson, the program has improved her skills as a photographer.

“Seeing photography that I’ve taken a month ago and comparing it to now, it has actually gotten so much better. More than what I would have expected,” she said.

For Vander Kooi, working with the teens was a real treat.

“I think working with artists and youths is quite a privilege and it is a great opportunity for me to widen my notion and definition of art as well,” she said.

Dazzle Camouflage runs tonight (Aug. 13) from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and again on Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Art Lab located inside the Nanaimo Art Gallery.arts@nanaimobulletin.comFollow @npescod on Twitter