Gurjap Sidhu and Gloria Wong, now finishing their Foundation Year at ECU, have taken part in every teen program the University has to offer. Enrolling in the Summer Institute for Teens after finishing Grade 11, Gurjap and Gloria met despite being in different studios (painting and photography, respectively), and the two formed a fast friendship.
“We were each other’s support system during the last year of high school, even though we went to different schools,” says Gurjap. “We lined up for National Portfolio Day together at 4am - I don’t think we slept at all in December.”
When Gloria told her about the Teen Art Group (TAG) program, run in partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, the two then Grade 12 students immediately applied. Through that program, the young artists toured exhibitions and began to create their own bodies of work.
“We met so many artists with different backgrounds, working across a variety of disciplines,” says Gurjap. “I tried things I had never done before.”
One of their projects in TAG, a series of public art pieces (pictured), remains on display outside the ceramics studio. The project was developed under the mentorship of Justin Langlois, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Culture + Community.
“TAG helped me to think about the different approaches I could take with my work and how other people might view it,” says Gurjap. “You’re open to so many ideas and inspirations.”
When it came time to apply to university, her experiences in TAG and the Summer Institute were part of why she chose ECU. “I felt like I already had roots here,” she says.
For Gloria, whose passions are photography and film, ECU was an obvious choice.
“I always wanted to go to Emily Carr,” she says. “We have a really strong photography program here.”
Gloria’s interest in photography led her to the Summer Institute, where she enrolled in the Photography Studio. The studio blended digital and film photography and she learned how to develop her own film along with new techniques, like double-exposure.
“A lot of what I do now came from what I learned in that program,” says Gloria. “I feel like it really prepared me for first year.”
In the Summer Institute, Gloria gained experience with critiques and found the feedback from her instructors Patryk Stasieczek and Josh Hite very helpful. One of the pieces she is considering for the Foundation Show, the University's annual exhibition of work by first year students, is a series of photos based on a concept from her time in the Summer Institute Photography Studio.
“I think the last art show I was in was the Summer Institute exhibition,“ she says. “It will be interesting to see how much my work has changed over this past year.”
The Foundation Show runs April 13-20 in the Concourse Gallery and North Building classrooms. Please note that the University will be closed for the statutory holidays, April 14/17). The 2017 Summer Institute for Teens will take place on Granville Island from July 4-28, 2017.