Himmat Bhopal's The Hand is an example of digital photography in the current Art by Surrey Secondary Students exhibit at Surrey Art Gallery, until April 30. Contributed photo

Surrey secondary student art showcased

Exhibit highlights serious themes, developing skills

The art and creativity of secondary school students in the Surrey School District – the largest in B.C. – is showcased in Surrey Art Gallery’s annual exhibition, running until April 30 at the gallery (13750 88 Ave.).

Art by Surrey Secondary School Students celebrates the skills and imaginations of more than 50 young artists through drawings, paintings, collages, photographs and prints.

A collaboration of SAG, Surrey School District and the Surrey Art teacher’s Association, the show has been a tradition since 1983, and the showcase is continuing – albeit under strict pandemic protocols, a SAG media release notes.

The exhibit – for which free, socially-distanced viewings can be made by appointment – demonstrates the skill of the young artists in a range of techniques such as colour-blending, shading, balancing positive and negative space, and capturing light and shadow. Implicit, too, is the role played by teachers in shaping and sharpening the critical and creative skills of the budding artists.

“Each student tells meaningful stories about who they are in a complex world,” a Surrey Art Gallery media release notes.

“Subject matter in this exhibit shows youth who are attuned to current events and crises.”

Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic is strongly reflected in the works included in the current exhibition – hands reaching out and self-portraits of unmasked faces, for example, express common desires for connection with others, while several pieces comment on how the pandemic has affected food security and food supply chains.

One charcoal still life is particularly telling – departing from traditional subjects to depict two iconic symbols of the “new normal” – hand sanitizer and a face mask.

The subject matter also includes such other themes as missing and murdered Indigenous women; and the prevalence of false narratives in today’s society.

Even with the serious tone evident in this year’s collection, many of the students talk about hope for the future in their artist’s statements, while the calming beauty of nature is highlighted in many of the photographic artworks.

Members may pre-book a visit: email artgallery@surrey.ca or call 604-501-5566 (ext. 1).


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