A group of South Eglinton area students have found a creative way to shed light on Toronto’s multicultural landscape.
Grade 11 art students at Greenwood College School recently completed a project that profiles some of Toronto’s most distinct communities through the creation of sculpted lamps.
Art teacher Leanne Mladen thought the assignment would challenge her students creatively and encourage them to explore communities beyond their own.
“I choose lamps because light just represents life,” Mladen said. “Just the idea of representing each neighbourhood with a light of some sort, I thought as a collective piece, it would be really effective.”
To draw inspiration for their projects, the students were tasked with touring a Toronto neighbourhood. They were instructed to speak with local shop owners and residents and even try some of the local cuisine.
Sophia Puccetti dug into some souvlaki when she traveled down to the Danforth to explore Greektown. She found the people there as warm and welcoming as the food they serve.
“To portray that, I used different drinking glasses, such as wine glasses, and I put little clay objects in them and put it around the base of the lamps,” Puccetti said.
When Annie Aziz visited Bloor West Village she discovered a predominantly Ukrainian community. At the same time, she noticed the influence of other cultures in the neighbourhood.
“I tried to incorporate the encroaching Toronto on the Ukrainian culture,” Aziz said of her design, which featured grey model buildings surrounding a coloured bulb representing the Ukrainian flag.
In creating their lamps, students were also able to apply practical science skills such as completing an electrical circuit. And to reduce the project’s impact on the environment, participants were asked to find an old lamp or make their own.
“I found this lamp in my basement in cold storage and I actually shocked myself when I was taking it apart,” Aziz said.
Other students were surprised to discover they had been missing out on some of the city’s hidden gems.
In nearby Roncesvalles, Alexis Green discovered not only a new neighbourhood, but her love of Polish food as well. She now plans to visit the area again, and said she hopes her project will make the community it represents proud.
“I’m really proud that my lamp was chosen and I’m happy that other people will get to see it and see what the neighbourhood has to offer,” Green said.
Mladen’s students are grateful for an art assignment that opened their eyes.
“I think the staff is very supportive,” Puccetti said. “They allow us to experience things on our own that we wouldn’t have gone out and experienced if we weren’t given that little push.”
The lamps that the students created will be on display at the Commerce Court entrance to King subway station until the end of February.
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