High school students examine themselves for art exhibition

By Angelica Ingram

Published May 3 2016

The concept of a selfie has been around for hundreds of years.
While the word just made its way into the Oxford dictionary in recent years selfies have existed in other forms most notably the self portrait.

Exploration of selfies was the theme at Rails End Gallery on April 23 during the opening of The Selfie Game an exhibit created by students enrolled in the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School portfolio class.
Under the instruction of Rose Pearson four female students were given a mission to examine how they present themselves to the world and how they see themselves.
“We thought of this theme of how popular selfies were in contemporary culture” said Pearson. “At the time none of us really realized that actually selfies and selfie culture is a very contemporary issue in contemporary art making right now.”

In discussing this selfie culture Pearson challenged the audience with the notion of whether this culture was a form of self absorption or self expression?
Defining the term selfie Pearson said it is a modern day self portrait typically taken with a digital camera or smartphone and posted on the Internet.
“Selfies or self portraitures are not a new thing” she said.
The form of self expression although not new is certainly on the rise as Pearson reported that selfies make up to 30 per cent of the photos taken by those between the ages of 18 to 24.
“They are super popular particularly among young people” said Pearson.

Their popularity is largely attributed to the ease with which they can be created edited and shared.
The ability to control how the world sees one paved the way for the exhibit’s theme with each student explaining their piece and how it was created and what it represents about themselves.
“Portfolio students constructed two questions for themselves and those were how do I want to be seen and how do I see myself” said Pearson.

The exhibit includes pieces created by Ariel Weiss Amy Black Christina Stephen and Brynn Meyers.
For the first time in history the annual show includes a collaboration installation piece that was constructed by all four students.
Mirroring a teenager’s bedroom the piece includes photographs posted on a wall in a collage clothes strewn about and other items with messages on them.
The Selfie Game is on display until May 14. For more information visit www.railsendgallery.com.