The Reflection Redefined art show displayed different mediums of art presenting the theme of body image from students, alumni, and professional photographer Charise Isis on January 21.
A DECA project created by senior Kate Kalinowski and junior Kira Porter, the art show had an open policy in accepting art that spread awareness on body image.
“We pretty much accept everything but it has to relate to the project and within this school’s policy,” Porter said. “We put out several flyers asking for art to be submitted.”
“Each piece of artwork shares someone’s personally struggle or view on body image,” Kalinowski said.
Artists were given to full liberty to create any artwork they wanted as long as they could explain its connection, according to Kalinowski.
“We wanted people to feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing such a sensitive subject,” Kalinowski said. “Artists were required to turn in their work on time and to write an artist statement; the statement explains who they are, what their artwork is and the connection to body image.”
According to Kalinowski, works like senior Annie May’s poem share a personal glimpse into their lives; their works were created as a medium to help themselves heal from the difficulties they face(d).
On the other hand, Kalinowski says Isis’s artwork is all about making an impact on others with her series of empowering portraits of women who have had mastectomy surgery as a result of breast cancer.
“When you have a women standing naked in front of the camera and her body is imperfect in our culture’s standards there’s a whole lot of power in that statement,” Isis said. “You’re basically telling the world, ‘This is how I am, I can’t change it, accept me.’”
Isis believes the women featured in her photographs are facing one of the most ultimate body image challenges.
“Breast cancer does multiple things to a woman’s body,” Isis said. “You’re losing your breast, you end up with a lot of scarring, hair loss, and often with the medications, weight gain; you basically lose your whole sense of feeling beautiful and powerful.”
Isis therefore hopes to inspire others to not feel the need of conforming to contemporary media through the presence of women in her photographs rising above what their body is doing.
“If someone who’s struggling with body image sees these photos of women looking empowered and beautiful even though they’re very scarred, then they will have a sense of self acceptance,” Isis said.
“Each artist has a different connection to their work and that is very visible,” Kalinowski said, “I love being able to have a looking into the artist’s mind when looking at the works they created.”
From the art show, Porter wants people to receive an experience that allows them to reflect on themselves and think about what they value.
“Hopefully the show will remind people that everyone has their own view of what beauty is — and everyone will have more acceptance,” Porter said.
“I would love it if viewers left the gallery feeling content with themselves,” Kalinowski said. “There are so many different types of people and bodies embraced by the artists that I believe people should leave the gallery knowing that all of the bodies portrayed and their own bodies are beautiful.”
Kalinowski also hopes students walk out the gallery continuing the conversation on body image.
“I don’t think [body image] is talked about enough in our school, so I hope the show is a catalyst to start many conversations,” Kalinowski said.