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Concordia’s undergraduate Keywords exhibition celebrates process and collaboration

The annual pop-up event showcases interdisciplinary works and fosters artistic exploration
May 28, 2024

Poeple looking at textile artwork in large room with artworks and people Myriam Lemire: “This exhibit entangles the embryonic phase of a new generation of artists.” Photo by Sandra Huber

For the second year in a row, students in Concordia’s Keywords course (FFAR 248/249 as of Fall 2024) hosted a year-end exhibition. FFAR Out! How Keywords Shape Art took place on April 19 in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building). This celebration featured about 70 works-in-progress from various disciplines, including performances, theatre scripts, ceramics, sound pieces, conceptual art, video art, paintings, drawings, graphic design, participatory work and more.

With a focus on process over product, students were encouraged to bring their work “as-is,” embracing creativity, imperfection and spontaneity, explains Sandra Huber, lead faculty and coordinator of Interdisciplinary Studies and Practices in Fine Arts.

Throughout the fall and winter terms, students built intellectual and artistic works around a series of keywords, including engaging, critiquing, working, archive, care, home, education, nature, failure, magic, time, sense(s), emotion, the future and community.

For student Kat Sun, the exhibition helped deepen her understanding of contemporary art themes.

“Collaborating with artists from other disciplines has been an enriching experience, providing me with abundant inspiration and the courage to experiment with various media,” she says.

“It has also offered me the opportunity to reflect on and address challenges within my own work, helping to mature and refine my creative ideas.”

Collaboration and exploration reach new heights

Cat Lipiec chose the keywords “engaging failure” as her topic. She notes that the exhibition facilitated cross-disciplinary collaboration, which helped open the students’ artistic practice.

“Participating in the course and exhibition was a great way to meet people. It was a great way to gain exposure and network with like-minded individuals and bring your art to new levels,” Lipiec adds.

For Gaïa Charest Lévesque, “the FFAR exhibition embodies this openness and represents a precious opportunity for those who have never dared to intertwine their paths with other disciplines. The works presented in this exhibition have touched me with their emotional richness, revealing intimate facets of their creators before I even met their gaze.”

Charest Lévesque says that working with keywords and crafting a video piece for the exhibition has been an enlightening journey of discovery.

“The process of distilling my concepts through the lens of keywords has been like finding clarity in a storm,” Lévesque shares. “It allowed me to channel my creative energy with greater focus and intention through the themes that resonate within me, transforming the cacophony of thoughts into a symphony.”

Young people looking at arworks on table Liepec notes that the exhibition facilitated cross-disciplinary collaboration, which helped open the students’ artistic practice.

‘More than a merger in the cosmos’

Helena Robbins explains that the group had the opportunity to come up with a public art installation concept at the beginning of the year. “Each of us had to make compromises in what we thought the piece should be. This taught me to distill concepts into what is most important.”

For many of them, the experience contributed to learning the benefits and techniques of working as a group, communicating not only together but also through their art, enriching their practices in the process.

“Art is a language and words are a language. It is important to be able to communicate in both,” notes Robbins.

“Participating in this course has made me want to write more intentionally. Being introduced to research-creation for this final piece in the exhibition has also changed my approach to projects. I am trying to make work informed by research and texts that I deeply admire.”

The event provided not only a platform for creative expression and exploration to the participants, but also fostered a community of emerging artists. As student Myriam Lemire describes, the exhibition was “more than a merger in the cosmos, entangling the embryonic phase of a new generation of artists.”

Explore your creativity in Concordia’s Keywords courses (Interdisciplinarity across the Fine Arts).

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