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Student artists put their best foot forward

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If the shoe fits, put it in an art show.

That's the view of Skye Kermode, Ethan Rogers and Elena Portius, who used 36 shoes to make an installation piece for the BSoA/Bermuda College student art exhibition.

The shoes are hung with fishing line and each have a thick nail through the front. The sound of marching plays in the background.

“The shoes were not fun to work with,” said Miss Kermode, 19.

“People pulled them out of their closets so they were all nasty. We stank out the building and had to take them outside to work with.”

Mr Rogers, 18, said the idea sounded great on paper, but they had no idea how much work it was really going to entail.

The first challenge was just getting the shoes. They sent out an e-mail across campus — and they were inundated at the last minute.

“We have shoes we didn't use,” Mr Rogers said.

The three are completing their associates degrees in art and design at Bermuda College, and the project was conceived in the colour and composition class.

“When our instructor gave us the assignment, I was thinking big,” Mr Rogers said.

“I wanted to create an impression. I didn't think it was going to be in a gallery. That came afterwards.

“At first the BSoA didn't have the space for this piece, but then someone pulled out at the last minute.”

He wanted to communicate something about groups; shoes seemed to be the right fit.

“It is about continuing onwards and struggle,” he said. “The shoes are all lined up, basically together conforming. They are walking in the same direction but each shoe is different. They each have their own characteristics and their own story. Because they are in this group they are being held back or handicapped. It is saying everyone needs to be themselves.”

Miss Portius, 17, said that hanging the shoes by fishing line turned out to be the biggest hurdle.

“I bought a curvy needle,” she said. “It was really difficult because I had never done any sewing before.”

The ladder kept getting tangled in the line, and Mr Rogers's hands were bleeding by the end.

“At first we were using a drill to get the nail through the front,” Miss Portius said.

“That was taking too long so, in the end, Ethan just used a hanger and was banging away.”

But the students agree that all of their efforts were worth it in the end.

“Someone said it looked like something you see in New York,” Mr Rogers said.

This is the first exhibition for all three artists. Mr Rogers's expertise is more in film. Miss Kermode hopes to work on movies as a special effects make-up artist. Miss Portius has just been accepted to the University for the Creative Arts Canterbury in Kent, England, and has not yet made up her mind what she wants to do. They are not yet sure what will happen to the shoes when the exhibition ends.

“We may donate them to the art department,” Mr Rogers said. “Or each shoe may go its own way. It's all very symbolic, really.”

• The Bermuda College student art exhibition is at the Bermuda Society of Arts at City Hall until Wednesday. For more information see www.bsoa.bm

Exhibit with plenty of sole: Skye Kermode, Ethan Rogers and Elena Portius with their shoe installation at the Bermuda College student art exhibition at Bermuda Society of Arts
The shoe installation piece by Ethan Rogers, Elena Portius and Skye Kermode in the Bermuda College student exhibition on now at the BSoA
Elena Portius, Skye Kermode and Ethan Rogers with their shoe installation in the Bermuda College student art exhibition on now at the BSoA
Shoes march in this installation piece in the Bermuda College student art exhibition at the BSoA
The shoe installation piece by Ethan Rogers, Elena Portius and Skye Kermode in the Bermuda College student art exhibition on now at the BSoA

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Published April 27, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated April 27, 2015 at 12:29 am)

Student artists put their best foot forward

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