‘Odds’ in Favor of Art Lab

Russel Kwok | Photography Intern

Russel Kwok | Photography Intern


Attendees gathered on the Student Center Terrace on Wednesday night, Oct. 8 as different types of artists put their artwork on display. From paintings to  photographs, dance numbers to musical performances — the UCI community invited their peers to see what “Overcoming the Odds” meant to them.

Art Lab has been a part of ASUCI for the past three years. It was created by the Office of the President, although this year it joined the Office of Administration Affairs. It now mingles with the commissions that organize Vendor Fair and the Green Initiative Fund (TGIF).

 The Art Lab commission aims to hold one to two community art showcases per quarter to serve as a space for students to highlight their amazing talents. Alongside these community art showcases, the commission aims to permanently install student artwork in campus buildings in order to show off the thriving art community here at UCI.

The ASUCI Art Lab commissioner, Kimberly Van, and her team voted on the theme, thinking about incoming students and all the hoops they might have had to jump through to end up here at UCI.

Van explained that the commission wanted to invite the UCI community to not just attend the event but to also be a part of the movement to develop a greater appreciation of art here on campus.

As you walked through the event, you saw a variety of art displayed, with their specific subject or set of colors catching your eye — all related to how the artists or others have overcome obstacles and succeeded in life.

One of these powerful paintings was named “It’s Only an Extra Chromosome,” featuring two people with Down’s Syndrome with their faces cut in half.

The close-up faces were smiling and bright-eyed for all to see. The artist, Jennifer Isidro, captured the powerful theme in a unique way for those who live in this world and the UCI community.

Another painting that caught my eye portrayed a frustrated woman being led away by two policemen. Titled “Women Who Vote in 1916,” David Martinez chose to go back in time when more strenuous goals were at hand, such as a woman’s right to vote.

He created these figures with oil paints on canvas — the confident woman and the faceless police stride through the street in a grayish, gloomy canvas, creating a sullen mood which helps the viewer realize that getting arrested was one of the many difficulties women of the 1900s had to face in order to achieve women’s suffrage.

I managed to score an interview with one of the featured artists. Photographer, Russel Kwok spoke about “Reflections,” one of his seven compelling pictures taken from all around the world.

“Reflections” featured a young boy looking out the train window with his reflection staring back at him. Having recently bought a new camera and film when he captured the picture, Kwok told me that the boy’s expression made it seem as if he was wondering about his future and what’s in store for him. He captured this moment in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“He has his whole life ahead of him,” Kwok said, which prompted him to snap the photo.

With the dance and musical performances, each song and gesture gave the message that overcoming any odd is hard, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. The Art Lab event performances and art pieces highlighted that no one is alone.