The ‘I do Art’ Exhibition of art, fashion and music took place at The Deep End, Medway’s student hub, on March the 12th. The showcase brought together the work of university students, and featured a diverse range of artistic work such as paintings, drawings, digital art, sculpture, photography and live art.
Hannah King, an Art History student, curated the exhibition as part of ‘Worldfest’ with the intention of creating a platform for students to take pride in their work and “claim the statement ‘I do Art’”. The artworks were unified by little more than that statement, being non-discriminately scattered around the gallery on panels and against the back of sofas.
As I flitted from self-portraits to abstract depictions of animals, I could ruminate on little more than on the blatant truth staring me in the face— this is not particularly ambitious “high-art”, but it is good and worthy of notation and it’s a shame there aren’t more people here to see it, to care about it. Drama and History of Art student, Cristiano Rigamonti’s ‘Self-portrait’ was the most arresting piece—a brutal reflection of inner pain radiating off of the vibrant canvas; a clown-like Dorian Gray.
Likewise mesmerising was ‘Faces on Rotation’ by Holly Taylor. How amazing an artwork is to me is based on how much it overwhelms my senses with wonder and I would be ashamed of admitting this, were it not for the beautifully clumsy execution of the event, especially the music performance, fashion show and student-film screening. First came a cello performance by Buana Ball, another student at the university, who apologised before starting in case he’s not very good. Then a clumsy fashion show of modern African clothing, where Buana who had just finished his Pop music covers was convinced last-minute to walk in the show, alongside a timid waiter who worked at the Deep End. It was casual, light and ridiculous. The event ended with a screening of the psychedelic-horror film ‘Lotus Eater’ by film students Asher Melville, Kiyan Agadjani, Niall Murphy and Sam Hayes; projection which was virtually ignored.
Only a few handfuls of people wandered into the art exhibition—friends of the artists or the artists themselves. I went to this with little knowledge about art. I haven’t deeply analysed the art, but you shouldn’t let the thought that you don’t know enough about something stop you from engaging with it. You don’t need to engage with art like an art critic, you can engage with it like an aesthetic hedonist. You should just enjoy the pleasure art gives you! Even where the art is painful (like Cristiano Rigamonti’s self-portrait) there’s a pleasure to be had in the captivating execution of the work and in its resonance. But maybe you simply don’t care about art and no one can force you to, but next time you see an ad for an art show, tap on the Facebook event and hover over the ‘interested’ button a little longer: someone put a lot of effort into that event and maybe we have a duty to give them a chance.