Kala Art and Design

Changing Our Wiring

By Saesha Sharda, Sophomore, 27 November 2021 Humanity does not have a lack of struggles, and nowadays chaos is dissociating into different parties, groups, and movements. Sometimes, it is important to take a step back and think about the basic things required to clear the chaos, and that is exactly what my artwork focuses on. I made this artwork for the Reflections Art contest 2021 for which I was awarded Merit of excellence. This art was an abstract representation of my thoughts. I chose watercolors and handmade paper as a medium. In my artwork, there are 4 beings shown in a setting of chaos. There are two beings pictured in the middle arguing, causing a ruckus. Being at the top, however, is productive and carries a friend across the crisis. Also pictured in the artwork is a neuron. The way neurons communicate is by passing on a message from the ends of the neuron, called axons. The arguing beings are not near the axons and therefore are not able to receive the message that is being relayed. Therefore, they are arguing, causing even more spread of confusion and chaos. The beings at the top, however, can receive that knowledge and are able to channel their love and empathy towards helping those who are struggling in the crisis.  My artwork shows that the passage out of the crisis is through human compassion and that the ignorance of information does the opposite. Take for example the battle for LGBTQ+ rights around the world. Countless studies have shown that being queer is not a choice and that individuals in the LGBTQ+ community do not deserve to be discriminated against. This aspect represents the logical component. We can also listen to and learn from the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and empathize with their struggles. This aspect represents the empathetic component. Bigots who despise individuals of the LGBTQ+ community ignore the information, which leads to assumptions and the spreading of hate. We must clear the chaos by collectively looking at information and empathizing with others; We must change our wiring.

Importance of Art Education for Young Brains

By- Saanvi Sharma, 8th Grade “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” -Albert Einstein.  One of the greatest mathematicians in history has thought of creativity and art as so important, that he passed on this quote for generations to ponder. Creativity is usually hidden beneath all other worries and stress that people face, but with the power of art, that creativity can be and will be taken to a whole other level. Art can be anything from poems to painting, but every form of art has its benefits. And art courses are most significant in these moments, as students’ minds are still developing and finding ways to cope with situations. Arts education is of great importance and benefits students’ emotional, academic, and social performance.   The education of arts is a requisite in sustaining emotional stability. My current art piece is about headspace inspired by Rabindra Nath Tagore. According to UF, “A literature review from Frontiers in Psychology outlined several studies linking aesthetic experiences with broad improvements in subjects’ emotional states that promote physical and psychological well-being.” The author points out that not only does art benefits students in creativity areas, but also supports emotional status. Also, according to another enhanced study by UF “Encouraging students to use their imagination can help them actively engage with new concepts and discover connections between ideas as well as provide advantages for their social and emotional well-being.” This shows that art may not seem like something that links to and helps with mental health, yet research clearly shows it in fact does! Not only does Art, benefit people emotionally, but it also affects them socially as well. Technology has affected this generation greatly, leading to addiction, depression, and more. Communicating to and from students through art will help them slowly come back onto the right path. According to HazeldenBettyFord, “Sleep disorders can develop as teens stay up all night to play with technology, and as a result, academic, athletic, and social performance can suffer…In-person social skills may deteriorate.” Performance in most areas start lowering as people start finding distractions that lead to all sorts of other problems, but luckily there is always a solution…engaging students in art and creative activities lessens stress and encourages students to interact socially. Another study by UF to reason with my recent claims.. shows that “Giving learners the time, space, and materials for creative expression can lower stress, improve memory, and make them feel more socially connected.” Moving on to the third gain arts education provides: boosting the level of student’s performance academically. According to researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, instruction becomes more effective when educators integrate creative activities and make them central to academic development. Across disciplines, including STEM, there’s room to reimagine classes with a strong emphasis on drawing, painting, playing music, performing drama, and other creative pursuits. This shows that including fun and engaging activities creates an environment for students such as yourselves, to willingly participate and learn, while enjoying themselves as well. The Department of Katy Independent School District says, “The fine arts enhance perceptual and cognitive skills. The Burton study of more than 2000 children found that those in the arts curriculum were far superior in creative thinking, self-concept, problem-solving, self-expression, risk-taking, and cooperation than those who were not (Burton et al., 1999).” This exemplifies the need for art courses. Many students may not know how much self-expression can impact them, but when they do express themselves, whether it be through sketching or playing a musical instrument…this tool results in a sense of accomplishment. In other words, pride. Creative outcome pushes students more in other academic courses as well, allowing boosts in grades, self-confidence, and much more to occur.  The education of arts has a significant impact on student’s academic performance, social interaction, and emotional wellbeing. Art is an important aspect in almost everything, whether it be just expressing your feelings in a healthy way, or creating a career path with it. Either way, art goes a long way and not many people know the real impact of it, but I’ll tell you from experience, it’s an amazing aid just to even make you feel better on your worst days. Furthermore, as we know how crucial the study of arts is, especially in honing the brains of young students at an early age…spread the word, creativity is contagious.  So It is beneficial in all aspects to incorporate art into everyday lives. 

Chaos in Oneself

By- Saesha Sharda, Freshman, 2020 “Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that the better for us all.”  — Erik Erikson In the present artwork, I have chosen to write focuses on the struggles of having bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme swings of high and low moods. The high mood is known as the manic phase, and the low mood is known as the depressive phase(“Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment.”).  In my painting, I have shown two human-resembling figures balancing on each others’ backs, connected by the brain and heart. One figure is blue and has a heart painted on its chest. This figure represents the depressive phase, as blues and purples usually represent sad, somber moods. The other figure, which is yellow and has a brain painted in its head, represents the manic phase, as we normally pair the color yellow with high energy. The reason the heart and brain are shown is to represent their connection: Rational thinking (the brain) and Emotions (the heart). The figures are part of the same person, symbolizing how the two phases occur to the same person, affecting the same person, making it especially hard to get through daily life.  The reason I wanted to create this painting was that I am passionate about raising awareness about not only bipolar disorder, but mental health issues in general. It is so important that we spread the word about mental illnesses and coping with them so that we can break the stigma that surrounds them. Stigma is a word to describe the social disapproval or discrimination against a person based on their characteristics, physical or mental. It is the fear of the stigma that keeps people suffering from mental health issues from coming forward about their struggles. In the Indian community especially, stigma against mental health issues is very apparent. The more we talk about it, the closer we are to helping someone cope with their mental illness and even saving lives. Submitting my painting to Vosap’s International Competition about disabilities was the perfect opportunity to share my art, and spread awareness about mental health issues.   Work Cited: “Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/mental-health-bipolar-disorder#:~:text=Bipolar%20disorder%2C%20also%20known%20as,sad%2C%20hopeless%2C%20and%20sluggish.