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Sarah Lam
Lord Byng Secondary School|Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Untitled|11 x 7 in. Material(s): Photo collage, digital. Process(es): Accentuating the delicate parts of a clarinet while embracing the sleekness of the black instrument.
“To magnify the inner workings of mechanical creations and patterns of things around us, my series uses shapes and dynamic lines to embody the motions and presence of objects. People often disregard the intricacy of ordinary things, and I wanted to challenge this by emphasizing the essential and underappreciated components of these complicated systems.”


As we go through our lives doing mundane things, we often disregard the intricacies of everyday objects. In the creation of machinery and systems, people don’t tend to ask about the how, why, and what. My AP investigation aims to shine a spotlight on the incredible, yet often disregarded, systems of ordinary things.

When I started my AP portfolio, I began looking at objects in a more speculative light. Noticing how there was so much more to objects than their physical properties, I tried to understand the functionalities of creations and capture the essence of things.
I personified these objects in my mind and imagined how they could move and morph, these changes of which would be different depending on the elements that the mechanical creations have. Factors like materials, textures, weights, colours, reflectiveness and form affect the way we perceive things in the physical world and so I translated my understanding of these properties into the abstract compositions of my art pieces. I was spending significant amounts of time analyzing how these characteristics and components intertwined to create a singular entity. With each piece having me to study these systems and creations, I grew an appreciation for the complexities that I had only shallowly understood.    I would like to encourage others to question the world around them a bit more because every creation has thought and consideration behind each of its design elements.
Sarah Lam

Teacher Statement

Jon Hartley-Folz
Byng Arts is a school within a school at Lord Byng Secondary and is a unique audition-based program designed to challenge Vancouver students with above-average academic abilities whose interests are focused on the Arts. We are one of the top-rated public schools in British Columbia, and we offer a unique program that balances rigorous academic study with challenging opportunities in music, drama, and visual art.
Sarah Lam is a model student within our program. She is engaged, curious, and extremely talented. Her presence in this showcase is no surprise. She put her pen to paper and made the first mark, and her tenacity helped her push through her creative blocks. Sarah created a visually engaging portfolio of work that reveals the small and often overlooked components of complex machines and processes. Utilizing a wide range of art tools, she uses colour, rhythm, movement, and selection to guide our attention. She rewards careful observation of her compositions. The work is a testament to her creativity and skill but, more importantly of her growth and perseverance through a challenging process.
As the AP teacher, I see my job as a mountain guide, I know what is ahead, I have mapped out the trails, and have anticipated where the path will get difficult. I help the students envision the journey and to prepare their tools. We brainstorm ideas, we meet regularly to review and redefine their concepts, and I ask the right question at the right time, but they do the work, and in the end, the success is theirs.
Well done, Sarah, I am very proud of you.
Untitled| 14 x 17 in. Material(s): Acrylic photo transfer, ballpoint pen. Process(es): An X-ray into the elaborate body of a typewriter. Emphasis on the sprawl of the typebars.
Sarah Lam