Fine arts exhibit continues until March 29

With limited time left in the semester, very few gallery exhibits are left for this academic year. Until March 29, the TRU Art Gallery in Old Main is displaying works by several fine arts students that are working towards their diploma, certificate or obtaining their minor in visual arts. 

The students were asked to submit three of their best works to the exhibit where selected pieces are featured. The diversity of the art is vast, with several styles, colours and media displayed on the white walls of the gallery. 

Fine arts students Ral Ojah, Chloe Murray and Arsalan Hamzah Khan talked to the Omega about their artistic process, inspiration and experience as visual arts students.

Ojah said his inspiration comes from his Nigerian roots and that he enjoys tying his culture into his colourful art. His work developed over time while studying at TRU and was not always the vibrant, textured art featured in his portfolio today..

“I came to TRU using just charcoal,” Ojah said. “I first started doing charcoal faces, charcoal dresses, charcoal skin and after my first project, I can remember [my instructor] saying ‘You are very good with charcoal, you should test yourself in other mediums,’ and that’s when I realized I could mix other mediums of art with my charcoal… TRU has really exposed me to the history of art.”

After graduating with his diploma, Ojah wants to continue his studies and open his own art gallery where he “can make a bridge between Nigerian art and Canadian art.”

Murray, who is also working towards her fine arts diploma, outlined the importance of incorporating nature into her pieces. 

“Nature is a big [inspiration] for me. Everything I do has a little bit of something to do with nature. I feel like it’s been a big part of my life always, going on walks and observing things.

Her piece titled Towards the Light was created with the theme of nature versus artificial. The project aimed to incorporate the natural world with man-made objects. Regardless of theme, Murray always adds vivid colours, which she said make her the most joyful.

“I think I always try to make things joyful. I really like bright colours. That’s always my go-to. I just want to be happy and I want people to feel happy when they look at my [art] and I want to feel happy when I look at it, too. Some people think [Towards the Light] is a little bit scary, but that’s alright,” Murray said, laughing.

Khan spoke about his love for the old art masters like Da Vinci, who inspired his piece titled Wings. The wings were made mostly from canvas fabric and hand-torn to create the rips and flowing pieces at the bottom.

Khan tries to allow his art to take shape as he makes it and tries not to be confined to the original plan or idea.

“We need to make sketches before we start… I don’t try to restrict myself with my sketches, I just go along with them. I have a final result and I work up to it rather than being constrained by [the original sketch],” Khan said.

All of the artists mentioned the emotions that came with the announcement of the shut down of the bachelor of fine arts program at TRU. The students said they have been saddened by its closure, which they said has caused issues in their academic journeys.

These pieces and more will be on display in Old Main’s art gallery until March 29.