Langley students tackle masks and pre-COVID memories with pizza box art project

Walnut Grove Secondary Student Anna Pyper’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)Walnut Grove Secondary Student Anna Pyper’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)
Walnut Grove Secondary Student Anna Pyper’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)Walnut Grove Secondary Student Anna Pyper’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)
Walnut Grove Secondary Student Claire Dyment’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)Walnut Grove Secondary Student Claire Dyment’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)
Walnut Grove Secondary Student Maddi Hasselbach’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)Walnut Grove Secondary Student Maddi Hasselbach’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)
Walnut Grove Secondary Student Michelle Lin’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)Walnut Grove Secondary Student Michelle Lin’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)

Scott Gordon, a Walnut Grove Secondary School (WGSS) art teacher, is singing the praises of his students who are currently featured in the virtual West Fine Art Show.

“The self portraits focus on the effects of the pandemic and are painted on pizza boxes, with their most missed memory of before COVID-19, painted on the inside,” he explained.

West Fine Arts is hosting a virtual online exhibition and adjudication of student art with cash prizes for first, second and third.

Photography, paintings and 3-D sculptures follow a theme of COVID-19 and what it has wrought on society; the positives, negatives, changes, trends.

All Langley students from Grade 8 to 12 were eligible to enter.

“I was looking for a different way to do portraits with the kids and the concept of a memory box fit perfectly with the pizza box,” Gordon explained. “Also the idea of take out tied in neatly with the COVID theme.”

Anna Pyper, a grade 12 WGSS student, explained that the outside of her pizza box depicts in acrylic, the personification of the fear behind the anti-mask movement.

“The collage of images and text behind the portrait reference the logic of anti-maskers and their primary belief that mandatory mask laws are an infringement upon their human rights, while the portrait itself characterizes the ‘evil’ that mask laws supposedly represent,” Pyper explained.

Inside the box, a much calmer, cool-toned portrait acts as a personal statement of Pyper’s own sentiments towards mask wearing.

“Dead eyes smile out from the face behind the mask, a visualization of the feelings of sadness and loneliness that are widespread during the pandemic, that we accept in order to protect the well-being of others,” she added.

“I chose to replicate the collage from the outside of the box on the inside as well, including photographs and article headlines that support the importance of mask wearing for the benefit of others,” Pyper continued.

READ MORE: West Fine Art’s spring show pivots to virtual gallery for first time ever

Maddison Hasselbach, another Grade 12 student, said her peice was to illustrate that everything she thinks is about COVID-19.

“Everything revolves around how I could have come in fact with corona or went near someone who had symptoms and it really has brought a new form of anxiety to my life,” she said.

Hasselbach said she missed grocery shopping in pre-pandemic times the most since it looks to be the most evident change out of everything in her life.

“I would go to stores filled with stocked shelves, mask free, walking both ways down an isle,” she explained.

Michelle Lin felt friendships have not been broken, but instead, have grown, which is what she chose to tackle with her box project.

“Quarantine gave me time to have closure with my new and old friends, sit down, go on about our dreams, ambitions and have some heart-to-heart talks,” she explained.

Gordon’s students have roughly 30 pieces on display at the art show, which began on April 9 and will continue until April 30. People can view their works at www.langleyschooldistrictfoundation.com.

The annual spring show was initially going to be held at Glass House Winery in Aldergrove, but COVID-19 precautions forced organizers to swiftly shift to virtual means for the first time ever.

Twenty-five percent of all artwork sales will be donated to the Langley School District Foundation to support Food for Thought Programs and feed underprivileged students.

Raffle tickets for artworks are also available for purchase online for $10. The Captains by Richard Brodeur, Theatre Row – 1965 by Brian Croft, Fly Me to the Moon by Rosemary Wallace and Artists for Conservation (a coffee table book) are all up for grabs.

People can view the Canadian-landscape-themed artwork from 28 different artists and purchase online at both westart.ca and langleyschooldistrictfoundation.com.


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