Students in our introductory Upper School art class tackled remote learning by appropriating various materials around the home to create installations focused on a message about their personal lives or contemporary life around us.

Adenike’s Artist Statement

A fan, some flags, a horse holding a necklace, a shoe keychain, and many other seemingly random objects. Together however, they still don’t make sense to the naked eye. Allow me, the artist to explain. All these items atop my dresser serve as a sort of altar or shrine to me; these objects serve as symbols or just direct implications about who I am. As a Mexican, I am very familiar with altars or ofrendas for the dead; so when thinking of something to do for this project my mind went to all the ofrendas that I have made over the years. What if I made an ofrenda for myself? I have a plastic bin that stores some of my most cherished items, so I made an ofrenda for myself on my dresser.

Some of the more direct items include the flags. My mom is African-American, thus the African-American flag; my dad is Mexican, thus the Mexican flag. Other items have more complex meanings behind them, like the purple converse shoe keychain. Lying between the coin jar and the black and white cat sits the keychain barely visible. That keychain was given to me by my mother’s sister, my aunt. My aunt is an extremely caring and loving person. She is a full time caretaker to my grandparents and she doesn’t have a lot of money, but she always makes sure to give me something whenever I come over to the house. The keychain to me symbolizes that no matter what you have or where you are, care for your loved ones.

Sofia’s Artist Statement

My piece was made out of many supplies in high demand during the pandemic we are currently living through. When news of a lockdown first began people rushed to the stores and bought all of the masks, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and ramen noodles. My family was fortunate enough to be able to get all of these items.

This piece to me represents more than just the objects in front of you. It is about all of the simple things we took for granted and now as we’re stuck in quarantine wishing we could do simple things like go to school. We are living through history and I was able to document it through art.

Christian’s Artist Statement

This photo’s meaning is essentially describing what I’m doing today in my life. During this coronavirus crisis, it’s not wise to go to school, so we should stay at home. We do this so we can prevent the spread of the virus, and we can take certain precautions so we don’t get the virus ourselves. But while staying home, it is still very important that we learn during this period of time.

And to achieve this idea of learning at home we do remote learning. Remote learning is a nice way to learn at home, because teachers can still interact with students, and students won’t lose education that could’ve been achieved if this coronavirus crisis wasn’t going on. Which is why I created this art so I could depict what happens at home while doing homework.

Sheridan’s Artist Statement // “Sunflower”

This work is to bring light and happiness to the world during the current pandemic. We need light and color now that we are inside a lot and it should bring a little joy to people.

Matthew’s Artist Statement

For this art installation, I decided to take a lot of objects around my household and make them into an art piece that relates around my growth and experience as a person. When I grew up, I decided to hide a great deal of my childhood and past around others. I took on a lot of responsibility from an early age so that I could be better prepared for the world I would eventually face when I grew older. As I learned from my most recent years, taking on that responsibility and my child-like heart is not something that I should have to keep hidden from the world. The more I accepted who I was and have become, the more I would grow and understand myself as a person. This piece is meant to represent mostly that, accepting your past and building on it, despite what had happened in that past.

When thinking of materials to make this piece out of, I reduced everything down to a few simple objects. A cardboard box, which is mostly meant for the other props that make up the piece. Along with the cardboard boxes, I used two masks that I had made in the past. These are supposed to represent masking your past or hiding your past, which is something I used to do in the recent past. The child’s toy is supposed to represent my childhood and how attached and connected I still am to it. The medals and key around the toy is used to represent the accolades I had gained in years past and how they contributed to the coming responsibility that I was going to get, which was represented by the key. They all come together to represent the message I am trying to portray. One does not need to hide their past to grow as a person, rather the opposite. One needs to accept what they have done to truly grow as a person.

Kelsey’s Artist Statement // “Mind Games”

What this piece means to me is the different kinds of isolation and entrapment I feel during these stressful times. It’s me, painted in the only medium I have, sitting looking out my window. I feel trapped by the two-dimensionality of my paintings and trapped by the circumstances around me. I’m restricted in what I can create and I’m restricted to my freedom of movement. The basket that holds up my peace serves as a frame and a visual metaphor for the viewer to understand how caged I feel. The safety pins are like my sanity holding me up, but barely. It’s simplistic in its design and in color story which is a purposeful choice to show how reduced I feel.

All of the elements in this piece were purposeful and used to reflect my mental state. I used my favorite medium, which normally feels freeing and empowering to me, and now it makes me feel like I have no other way to express myself. The basket which also serves as a frame, has been in my room for a really long time and reminds me of how long I’m stuck here without a way out. My message is how limited I feel in my creations and limited in my personal actions.

Maryn’s Artist Statement // “Addiction”

This piece of art can have many different meanings depending on the viewer’s perspective. The meaning/message that I want to convey in this piece is overshopping and overspending. Shopping can become an addiction for most who don’t even realize that it can be a serious problem. It can become compulsive and some people feel like they have no control over their spending habits. This can lead to things like hoarding and uncleanliness in not only the home but the mind, body, soul as well.

This leads to another important message that I wanted to convey in my piece which is the act of hoarding without donating. People hoard things like clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry, etc. with no thought of donating some of those things to less fortunate people who really need it. Instead of keeping old things that are taking up space in your home, why not donate it to needy people or a family member who might really appreciate it?

Desmond’s Artist Statement

I created this installation art piece because these seven objects represent my daily life during the quarantine period and I spend most of my time using them.

The laptop, iPad, glasses, paper, and pen mean even though I have been trapped in my house and cannot go to school, I still need to figure out a way to keep in touch with my teachers, classmates, and friends. They are the symbols of hope and also represent most people’s home-staying situation: simple and ordinary.

The milk tea and the cup noodle are not just telling us we need them as resources to survive. In Asian culture, milk tea and cup noodle also means a simple but fulfilling life. These two things also tell people that even though we are facing this global disease and have been forced to stay home, we still need to find that genuine happiness around us.