During my first year of university, I was living on-campus.
I was trapped inside the walls of a small townhouse with three other girls, suffering from assignment overload and extreme boredom.
I decided to join an art club on campus called A. R. T. (Art Resource Team).
Our club’s goal was to create and run events on campus such as paint nights, open mics and the UTM Arts Festival. For every events, we divided the amount of labour between ourselves, conquering each one as a team.
Arts Festival 2016 tickets
My job for the 2016 Arts Festival was to sell tickets to people living on-campus. My friend (Tanwa) and I had to set up a table in front of the residence’s cafeteria for several days. We were given the task of getting people to buy the tickets using our sweet, but awfully awkward personalities.
While ticket selling, Tanwa told me that she was going to perform in the Arts Fest. She said she was going to recite a poem.
Her participation had triggered my interest.
…What should I do?
The thought had invaded my mind. I was already occupied by various essays at the time, but it was too late, ideas for the show had already started to flow.
After a lot of procrastinating, I decided to paint and I ended up making two paintings for the Art competition.
The first painting, “Selfie”, illustrated an image of a female taking ‘selfie’ with a camera placed on a tripod stand. Her head in the selfie is slanted, imitating the angle of the camera on the tripod stand. The action was initially done by Rihanna in a 2015 Fader magazine shoot. I found it odd since people use phones to take selfies nowadays, but the angles were very intriguing so I decided to paint it. My other painting, “UTM Fall”, illustrated an image of my university (University of Toronto Mississauga) during the fall session. Specifically, I painted a pathway that I frequently walked on. When I lived on-campus, I appreciated the beauty of the pretty fall leafs, so I painted it.
Then day of Art Fest came …
I remember being stressed out a few hours before, I had an essay due at midnight that day and I wanted to finish the essay early so I could focus on Art Fest. I finished the essay alright, almost losing my mind in the process.
But I finished it. At least I finished it.
That meant that I could finally focus on the art show.
Young painters, sketchers, sculptors, photographers and dancers, blessed my eyes. Young singers, instrumentalists, poets and philanthropists, blessed my ears.
Many talented people were present, in one place, at one time.
After the art show we all met outside the theater to get snacks and drinks, to refresh, and to have the opportunity to converse with each other. I told Tanwa that her poem was amazing and she complimented my paintings. A group contemporary dancers walked in shortly after and danced in front of us, twirling, falling and rising to a wonderful rhythm. After their dance, the winners of the different art genres present that night were awarded.
The experience was amazing.
At the end of the night I felt inspired, felt free.
I finally understood why people go to the theater so frequently, (be it performance, musical, or movie theaters) they all have a gift of presence.
Art competitions have the same gift, it makes people focus on its produced moments, the actor’s stagecraft, the dancer’s twirling, the musician’s melody, and the many other actions of performers. The art competition had taken away the stress I was feeling during that time. I was stressed because of school, my prior academic goals and my differing academic reality. The art competition had calmed my mind, simply, by entertaining it.
That night, I didn’t win an award for my genre, visual arts, but there are many more art competitions left for me to participating in, and I plan on winning my next one.
I have this overwhelming hunger to compete again, to create and win.
Go out there and compete!
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