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Artistic responses

In the spring of 2022, Equity and Human Rights and the Reflection and Challenge Committee put out a call for student artists interested in creating arts-based responses to the campus community’s vision for equity at UVic. Artists were asked to work with a series of quotes and themes from a survey entitled Our Desired Future conducted as part of the Equity Action Plan engagement, and to create a piece of art that reflects the essence and/or tensions of these dreams for UVic’s future. Below are the final projects of the four artists who answered this call.

Keep in Mind

keep in mind painting

By Emma Ainsworth
When examining the Equity Action Plan engagement summary about what an equitable future at UVic might look like, I was inspired by how thoughtful and intricate the employee and student responses were. I reflected on my own process of acknowledging my privilege and learning about what ideas like equity and intersectionality mean to me, as well as what they mean in an educational setting.
My original goal for this work was to try and depict as best as possible the importance of unity, identity, compassion, and empathy as key ideas within equity. As my painting progressed I found that I shifted my focus to the individual and/or collective thought processes that need to occur in order to create positive change.

Artist Bio

Emma Ainsworth is from Victoria, BC and is in her third year of her undergraduate degree at UVic where she is majoring in English and minoring in Visual Arts. Emma has always loved being involved in visual arts whether through school or practicing on her own. She primarily works in acrylic and oil paint, however has enjoyed exploring new mediums such as drawing and sculpture at UVic. Emma’s connection to art has always been very self-reflective, and she is thankful to be able to use art not only to express her thoughts and emotions on a personal level, but to contribute her own experiences into conversations that can hopefully create a positive impact.

Humans of UVic

By Zin Dewa

The “Who am I?” poem invites readers to empathize with the discomfort of experiences when the “one-size-fits-all” doesn't fit. These tensions often go unspoken as people in marginalized groups are so used to being misunderstood by the majority that they may feel safer keeping quiet.
“My Wish” expresses the disappointment of an unmet hope. It is up to the reader to determine what can be done to soothe each tension that arises in the poem. Hint: the solutions require compassion for the one being marginalized and change from the status quo.

Artist Bio

Zin Dewa is a Xhosa-Ndebele artist raised in Saskatoon on traditional Cree and Blackfoot territory. Exploring mediums like photography, podcasting, videography and writing, Dewa weaves philosophical themes with the gentleness of psychology. She is inspired by the world around her and remains hopeful, despite the circumstances. The poems express the desire for diverse supports at the University of Victoria. Dewa graduated from UVic in June 2022 with her BA in Psychology.

Vires Acquirit Eundo

By Naomi Harris

This artistic contribution reflects on the theme of “Safety to be One’s True Self” through this three-movement accordion and vocal performance titled, “Vires Acquirit Eundo” meaning “we gather strength as we go.” This composition includes quotes collected from members of the UVic community during the Equity Action Plan engagement and addresses tensions that arise from Jung’s concept of individuation in society.

This piece was composed with traditional influences of accordion composition while also utilizing contemporary accordion techniques. The first movement expresses the formation of identity; discovering one’s capabilities and limitations. Progressing into the second movement, the individual is elated and driven to find meaning and purpose. The piece concludes with confusion and frustration. Losing parts of oneself to mold into a collective, but ultimately rediscovering and returning to one’s true self.

Artist Bio

Naomi Harris is a music student at the University of Victoria currently studying accordion performance.

Scenes Of Knowledge

scenes of knowledge painting

By Claire Jorgensen
Scenes Of Knowledge, is a 12 ft long acrylic painting that draws inspiration from the responses to the survey Our Desired Future, which asked community members what equity, diversity and belonging could look like at UVic. Survey responses included reflections on the importance of challenging colonial structures which continue to shape the education system and spoke of the divided and disconnected nature of the university which sits in direct contrast to the community UVic strives to create for all.
In this painting I play with the juxtaposition between UVic buildings and landmarks, and the plants and animals which call UVic home. Through the interplay of these elements I hope to convey the true connectedness of the world and how the complexity of knowledge transcends academia.

Artist Bio

Claire Jorgensen is a Visual Arts major going into her third year at UVic. While she would describe herself as a painter, her work is primarily in mark-making mediums as well as photography. Claire enjoys the physicality of art, the “hands-on” aspect of painting, drawing and analog film. Claire has spent much of 2020-2022 painting, drawing, photographing and creating, during which art has been her guide for untangling her thoughts and experiences. As a neurodivergent student, Claire was drawn to this Equity Action Plan project. She’s seen the impact that equitable support has on one’s ability to overcome adversity and thrive at UVic, a privilege that not everyone has equitable access to.