February 23, 2023
Introductory Meetings: Artist Eva Vēvere on Visit at Jelgava Spīdola State Gymnasium
On February 21 the second artist’s visit took place as part of the project Artist is Present – Contemporary Art Residencies in Schools. This time, artist Eva Vēvere and art mediator Evelīna Andžāne went to the Jelgava Spīdola State Gymnasium. Social sciences students from grades 10 and 11 were invited to relate a single revealing fact about themselves, which characterizes them and what they want others to know about it. For some, it was the fact that they’ve already graduated from painting class, their particular fondness for playing the kokle, for art, literature, or years-long Chinese-language studies. Others simply like pancakes with cheese or are getting more and more interested to learn about events in contemporary art. Eva Vēvere presented an artwork of hers to the students, namely the video installation Mindscape n’5, and this was followed by group work for which students were invited to create a map of contemporary art on a large piece of white paper. Each group went about the task in their own way. Some engaged in longer discussions as to how to depict the insubordinate kind of art that has no borders as well as discussed norms and prejudices as well as the people who perpetuate them. Others mapped art in countries that they had made up themselves, deconstructing some of these and adding dead zones of art. Despite the time limit, the students were surprisingly willing to go with the flow of the process and fulfill their desire to visually depict what they think about the things they had discussed together. It was evident in the groups that, even if the students didn’t know what to start with, they would surrender to spontaneity and, as the drawing progressed, they would interact with what their group mates had accomplished and finally meet everyone else at the center of the map of contemporary art. After the work was done, the groups presented their contemporary achievement, relating what they had drawn and justifying the ideas that had made it into their work. From time to time, the open-minded and inspiring teachers as well as the school principal dropped by at the workshop, expressing interest in the work of each group and documenting the process. Eva Vēvere’s next visit at Jelgava Spīdola State Gymnasium is slated for February 28 when the students will have the chance to create art individually.