Breakthrough is an Art Party with New Heights

December 12th, 2016

Photo by David Vassiliev / The Phoenix News

Photo by David Vassiliev / The Phoenix News


Hosted by the Theatre Course Union, Breakthrough is the theme and name of this year’s Art Party, where art pieces of students from many disciplines and mediums are displayed throughout the CCS building. There were paintings and sculptures lined up along the hallways leading to various studio rooms in the first floor. Performances and interactive pieces were spread across various rooms and studios, ranging from original songs and instrumentals to reciting fiction and poetry. The party didn’t just stop at the first floor though, and when I climbed up the stairs I was greeted with a couch in front of the elevator doors, an instalment made of cloth and fabrics in the middle of the floor and tables filled with food and drink.

A few hours into the event, Erin Scott began her spoken word performance in the gallery. A regular at Inspired Word Cafe’s events on campus and around Kelowna, she recites three poems that are relatable, powerful, and unbelievably funny. One of the three poems that she performed that night was one about razors, shaving, and the art of not giving a fuck. Written and read to sound like an ad that would air on television or radio, Scott’s poem talked about women and the tedious (and painful) art of shaving private parts and other parts of the body. Her mesmerizing stage presence and her use of explicit language drew the attention of attendees, and soon the gallery was filled with a sizeable audience that hung to her every word.

In the metal shop on the first floor for the first hour, Tingting Niu plays the role of a machine named Gogo, an East Asian “robot” that takes commands from small cue cards on a desk in front of her. In a corner of the metal shop, a living room- like setup is Gogo’s home, and Tingting stood behind an empty picture frame with a robotic like smile on her face. “Hello, my name is Gogo, please input your command card” played in various languages including English, French, Mandarin, and Japanese over and over again. Visitors were encouraged by organizers to put a command card on Gogo’s hands, and the “robot” would perform commands ranging from the funny to the bizarre. Occasionally, Gogo’s actions and performance would cause giggles to spread throughout the metal shop. One of the funniest and well received commands was to see Gogo have sex, where Gogo would enclose herself in a zip up closet, shake said closet, and make robotic “sex” noises that never failed to make Art Party attendees laugh.

As I walked out of the metal shop, bright, beautiful paintings of butterflies and abstract themes were displayed on the wall right across from it. My eyes trailed from one sculpture to the next and tried to take everything in. There were abstract sculptures, hilarious sculptures, and sculptures that depicted the macabre. One that really caught my eye was the head of Lady Liberty composed entirely of USD $1 bills. The sculpture was massive, and people walking by wondered how on earth did the artist manage to pull something of that caliber and size off.

All in all, the art party was a great success. Students, faculty members, and members of the Okanagan community had the chance to interact and admire works of art long with some food, drink, and wine. The atmosphere was warm, fun, and welcoming, and if that doesn’t scream success then I don’t know what does.

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