Art Expression Youth Club - Youth Sustainable Art Gallery

February 26 2018
The Wesbrook Community Centre

From the day we received the grant, we have been determined to put together the best event possible. As many of us know, artists today are stigmatized and often thought of as “inferior” - after all, we do nothing except paint stuff that honestly have no relation to anything of use just to make a living and try to please the upper class by creating obscure “modern” artworks that literally no one in the general population understands except for “the elites”, right?

Wrong. We are very eager to change that perception of artists by combining what we love doing most - art - with our passion to bring positive change to this world. From the very beginnings of the AEYC club five years ago to what we have grown to be today, our goal has never changed - to engage ourselves in current events through this art exhibition that calls for activism and change and to hopefully inspire all of our attendees to do the same.

This year, we have brought together a collection of fourty-three art pieces by youth artists all over Vancouver. This was not a simple task in any way, shape, or form - we reached out to every youth artist we knew, visited over ten schools in mainland Vancouver to publicize our exhibition through handing out posters and getting in touch with various art departments, and pushed our limits to the maximum by creating a few more pieces of work ourselves. It had especially difficult when last-minute emergencies regarding easels inevitably came up a day or two before the exhibition. Our members all squeezed out time from our tight schedules and had a meeting where we just put easels together for a good few hours - a true joy indeed. Thus, it’s clear that every member of the AEYC had done their fair share in order for the exhibition to pull together at the very end.

At the end of the day, however, it is not about what we got out of this, but instead about whether or not our message delivered. Environmental change is a cause that is very close to our hearts, and we have done everything in our power to ensure that our audience would be emotionally moved by such an event. To achieve this, the chairs of the AEYC used their skills and talents to put together a heartfelt speech that speaks to the world’s depleting resources, the astonishing yet ongoing number of animal species are going extinct as we speak, the various non-biodegradable materials that have become so integral in the diet of marine life that us humans have begun to eat fish that contains micro-particles of plastic, the air pollution that has gotten so bad that it’s actively eating away at our health, and the ignorance and carelessness that exist among some despite earth’s deteriorating health. It truly hurts us to see that some still choose to sit in the comfort of their homes, hoping that the damage that’s already been done will disappear overnight, and to see others continue with their excessive deeds in the name of “making a living” and shrug off the burden of restoration onto the next generation. In fact, this is the reason why we named this exhibition “Karma”: after all, what you do to the environment, the environment will do right back to you. We believe that if an effort isn’t going to be made, starting today, nothing will happen and humanity will simply continue down the path of self-destruction. However, if a collection of small attempts comes together as a whole, real change will happen. However gruesome the theme of this exhibition seems, we believe in the power of the collective. Together, we can turn karma from something that works against us into a positive force that rewards us for our good deeds. Together, we can lessen the impacts of human activity and preserve our mother nature for the better. Together, we can create change.

Thus, the AEYC club will not stop here. This year, we have done well; but next year, we will make this even better. We sincerely thank the UNA for once again giving us this wonderful opportunity to bring our collective voice to the public, and we hope to do so again and again in the years to come.