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AP 2-D
Viela Hu
Crofton House School|Vancouver, Canada
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Dimensions: 30” x 25”|Idea(s): unify collage as womb, flower+fruit=beauty, butterfly+bird=birth, snake+red vine=menstruation pain|Materials: Glossy paper prints, collage on woodboard with paper background|Processes: Test symmetrical composition with print paper, revise to break frame with glossy paper.|Curatorial Note: Powerful example of a painting out of the frame which is different from much of what we saw. Strong work.

Student statement

My investigation focuses on the relationship with my identity, others around me, and the world beyond me. I portray how my femininity and Chinese-Canadian culture shape my identity. For interpersonal relationships, I explore young love, sisterhood, women, and women of color, which expanded to exploring the greater world through race, the trials and tribulations of life, and the rhythm of life. My art is personal in theme yet seeks to allow the viewers to resonate with my inner world.
This piece, titled "Garden of Life," is a part of my femininity exploration. I am fascinated by the womb, for it is so powerful that it fosters life, so powerful that pain comes with it. I created this collage to celebrate the womb's beauty and portray its complexity. Stirred by James Jean’s organ drawings, I designed my own, one of a uterus. Instead of painting the composition, I took advantage of the flexibility of glossy photo paper to create depth.
Influenced by the works of Ebony G. Patterson, I employed various elements to point to the compounded beauty of the womb. Flowers and fruits portray their beauty. Butterflies and birds convey the uterus’ ability to produce new life. On the side, vines grow out of the womb, symbolizing its vitality. In contrast, snakes crawl on the flower, while red vines fall from beneath, suggesting the pain that comes with menstruation. After multiple sketches, testing composition with printer papers, and adjusting the final work, the "Garden of Life" seeks to explore the essence of the womb through the artistic manipulation of elements from nature.
I am forever grateful for all the time and support my art teacher so tirelessly endowed me throughout creating this portfolio, from discussing initial themes and check-ins throughout the academic year to finalizing our work selection and portfolio statements. She inspires me to explore the world through art.
Materials: glossy paper prints, collage on woodboard with paper background|Process(es): unify collage as womb, flower+fruit=beauty, butterfly+bird=birth, snake+red vine=menstruation pain.
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TEacher statement

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Kelly Poole
A supportive, vibrant, and student-driven learning environment is what we aim to achieve in our senior school classroom at Crofton House School. From the early years of our program, students learn to embrace sharing their work with each other and the community. We know that peer feedback and collaboration foster a sense of community and allow students to see different perspectives and approaches to creative challenges. Students feel empowered to share their thoughts and outcomes openly, and by the time they are in their final year of high school and taking AP Art and Design, they are sharing work that is personal, well-informed, and meaningful.

Beginning with structured assignments and gradually expanding independence as students grow more assured, we emphasize self-directed projects as a core focus in our curriculum. Integrating reflection into the inquiry process is also part of our daily practice. We frame questions to encourage deep thinking and exploration; asking questions that require analysis, interpretation, and critical thinking is crucial to a growth mindset. Students embrace challenges, persist, learn from mistakes, develop resilience, and foster a love of learning. Encouraging students to ‘think about their thinking’ and evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies is at the core of our practice. They are excited to see how far they can turn their curiosity into a sustained investigation as they follow passions from inside and outside of school. I know from both 1:1 discussions, and what I see in their practice, that they think about their portfolio continuously—not just when they enter the classroom. Choosing topics or questions that genuinely interest them and can evolve until the last second keeps students motivated throughout the creative process.

As a teacher and mentor, I am there to offer guidance as needed, but the responsibility is ultimately left to the students as they become more independent in their inquiry skills. Cultivating a mindset that values curiosity and sees mistakes as opportunities for learning is truly how our students thrive. The written component enhances students' ability to articulate their ideas and demonstrate a deeper understanding of their artistic practice. We provide writing prompts and establish small critique groups so students can workshop their thoughts onto paper. Students have been crafting artist statements to accompany their work since Grade 8, allowing them to refine vocabulary, achieve concise clarity, and exhibit individuality. The succinct written work of their sustained investigation is the grand finale!

Working with Viela throughout the last five years has been an incredibly fulfilling journey as an educator, and her AP Art and Design portfolio serves as the crowning achievement of her high school art endeavors. Her exploration into representing the human body through two-dimensional outcomes reflects a personalized inquiry that aligns with her artistic interests and influences. Viela's references to specific artists (Iris Van Herpen, Francis Bacon, Jenny Saville, and Cecily Brown) show an awareness of art history and contemporary practices and highlights the importance of incorporating art history into the curriculum to broaden students' perspectives. Her inquiry explores the human body's transience, metamorphosis, and dichotomies in gender, emotions, and movement. Viela's artistic outcomes teach us the importance of fostering individualized inquiries, interdisciplinary inspiration, experimentation, critical reflection, and an openness to revision. It reinforces the idea that effective teaching involves guiding students to explore their unique artistic paths while providing the tools and encouragement for growth and development. 

My advice for other AP Art and Design teachers is to balance structure and flexibility in your classroom. Strive for a balance between providing structure in assignments and allowing flexibility for creative exploration. This accommodates diverse learning styles and preferences and fosters unique visual outcomes. And lastly, instill in students a love for lifelong learning in the arts. Emphasize to your students that the skills developed in the course extend beyond the classroom and contribute to their ongoing growth as artists.
Dimensions: 30” x 25”|ldea(s): unify collage as womb, flower+fruit=beauty, butterfly+bird=birth, snake+red vine=menstruation pain|Materials: glossy paperprints, collage on woodboard with paper background|Process(es): test symmetrical composition with print paper, revise to break frame with glossy paper on final
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My investigation focuses on my relationship with my identity, others, and the world. I portray how my femininity and Chinese-Canadian culture shape my identity.

School Leader statement

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Michelle Douglas
Founded in 1898, Crofton House School has a long tradition of emphasis on the arts. Our curricular program includes many opportunities for students to foster their creativity and interpret the world around them through art and design. 

Our Visual Arts education program empowers each of our students to find the medium that allows her own personal expression and creative energy. Students develop confidence, flexibility, critical thinking, and collaboration skills through inquiry, experimentation, and persistence.

Our program and students thrive thanks to the dedication and guidance of our expert teachers, such as Ms. Kelly Poole. Students build self-awareness and problem-solving skills by creating new connections within their artistic works through the understanding and mentorship provided. With our beautiful studio setting and well-resourced program, students are supported in expressing and communicating their ideas as they share new ways to see our world. The importance of the arts is supported throughout the school with awards, exhibitions, and display spaces.

Through our program, the support of teachers, and Viela's perseverance in her inquiry, she has grown as a student, artist, and person. Her artistic endeavors and dedication to her process shone at Crofton House. I am thrilled she shares her artistic perspective, talent, and passion with the world.
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Viela Hu