BHS students present art online
Chloe Mitchell used cardboard for her pop art creation; Camila Bonifacio da Rocha painted on brown paper bags.
Stuck at home with limited supplies, the Bermuda High School art students were forced to become more resourceful.
Rachel Swinburne, their teacher, also had to get creative. When Covid-19 canned the annual exhibit by the Year One International Baccalaureate class, she chose six students and put their art online.
The exhibit, called Tides, is the first of its kind for the school and will be up until the end of May.
“If they do decide to become professional artists this will be a good experience. They will need to know how to promote their work online,” said Ms Swinburne.
Before remote learning began, she led the students through several lessons where they explored how artists, museums and galleries were showcasing art during the pandemic and learnt to do the same.
Chloe, who would like to become a graphic artist, was in talks with Rock Island Coffee about doing a mural for them when Covid-19 hit. She hopes to pick up the conversation once the Reid Street business reopens.
Tides is particularly exciting for Camila, a Rotary International exchange student who joined BHS in September from Mirassol, a small city outside São Paulo.
“Back in Brazil, we only studied art history,” she said. “We didn't really do any art in school.
“At the beginning of the year they asked if I wanted to do the arts or music and I said art not really knowing what it was. I was having a hard time with it. Now it is relaxing. I really like it. It is my favourite class.”
She loves that Bermuda “is beautiful and the people are so friendly” and hopes that she will be able to explore more of it before she leaves in July.
When the Covid-19 crisis broke in March, Rotary Club members decided it was safer for her to stay here.
“They know that it's a big risk to send me back,” she said. “I was really afraid [I might] get the virus in the airports and get home and infect someone. Also, being in quarantine would be something that I would have to do to protect everyone that I love and care about. I'm glad that they decided to keep me here.”
She is happy that there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 in her home town.
“I'm really worried about my family and friends, but I know that they are doing everything possible to be safe,” she said. “Unfortunately, some still need to go to work.”
She used her artwork to express how she feels about the pandemic.
“I decided to draw a galaxy,” she said. “I love galaxies, planets and stars. I drew a glass box in the middle. I was going to put a girl in the box. Then I thought it would be easier to draw a planet in the middle of the box; it cannot move like the other planets. I feel a bit stuck in the middle of the box. I can't go out to hang out with my friends or see the island. I am really sad to be inside.”
Despite all the challenges of lockdown the virtual art classes have gone well,
“Normally, the students will look to each of us for help moving forward if they are feeling a little stuck,” Ms Swinburne said.
“One of the functions of our lessons on Google Meet is to share their work and get help from each other. Others tend to jump in and find them a way forward. That has worked surprisingly well.”
Layla Kurt, 17, was thrilled that Tides was able to continue, albeit on a smaller scale than the usual exhibit. “It is still nice to be able to put something up and have people look at it,” she said.
“I think it is important for the community at BHS and others to see what we do and what is going on. I think art, in general, becomes a joy to people.”
Ms Swinburne said the show was proof that art could flourish even during a pandemic.
“We can all do the best we can in the current situation,” she said. “It is really good to see my students are finding solace in their art making.”
Emily Williams, Miniya Wainwright and Lila McHugh also contributed to the show.
• Tides can be viewed at shorturl.at/bgrQ0 through to May 31