Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, welcomed its first cohort of Master of Fine Arts in visual arts (studio) students this spring.
Five students from many different walks of life are diving into the program as well as discovering the west coast of the island.
Lorna Conquergood of Saskatoon, Sask., has a background in teaching visual arts in the school system as well as acting as a program guide for the Remai Modern museum in Saskatoon. She traditionally works with oil paint, producing large scale paintings but is also delving into smaller scale sculptures. She hopes to explore place-based ideas of home, and "what makes a home."
Ardalan Hamedi of Iran has an architecture engineering background. He has employed diverse materials such as brick and concrete while using painting, sketching, documentary and photography to connect with architecture. He plans to continue this practice by creating a photographic installation related to architecture and design. Newfoundland and Labrador appealed to Ardalan because of the similarities to his feelings of living in Iran, which politically, is extremely isolating. He said "it's interesting to have this experience – the lifestyle inside one island." He plans to make something here that is local, using the "arts of this land" to reflect on the province's cultural individuality.
Meanwhile, Chantal Pennell is from Curling in
Corner Brook, NL. Following her graduation from Grenfell Campus in 2016 with a
BFA (visual arts), she ventured to Windsor, ON to pursue an MFA in Fall 2018,
but when she heard that Grenfell’s MFA was off the ground, she knew “I needed
to come back.” While exploring her Mi’kmaw background in relation to the
importance of animals/nature in western NL, she hopes to make a connection with
the environment through drawing, photography and sculpture.
Yalitsa Riden swept onto the island from the south shores of K'jipuktuk, N.S., to continue exploring their practice, which had been focused on digital and celluloid film making/playing throughout their BFA at NSCAD University. Yalitsa's interests lie in exploring and experimenting with notions of queerness, representation and political criteria through entertainment wrestling. While encouraged to apply overseas, Yalitsa found the idea of Newfoundland and Labrador appealing, saying "I was drawn to the culture, people and isolation of the island and knew immediately this is where I wanted to be."
Finally, Anie Toole of Ottawa, Ont., uses an interesting combination of math and craft to create patterns and sequences to construct 3-D textile weavings. She said she researches the "representation of weaving," and our relation to cloth. Explaining that while we may not realize it, weaving is everywhere. Her research in handweaving is a mixture of textile history and computer programming
The five grad students completed an on-campus intensive during May and June of the spring semester followed by fall and winter terms completed in their home communities or at another campus of Memorial University with distance learning supervision and contact. They'll return to Grenfell Campus for a second on-campus intensive next spring, with their final projects being presented during the second fall or winter term at Grenfell Campus.
"Our program is shaped by graduate students who seek a flexible delivery model and wish to engage in graduate research at more than one location: in their home and/or at a number of Memorial University Campuses or locations," said Cameron Forbes, assistant professor of painting and drawing and graduate officer of the MFA in visual arts (studio).
For more information about the MFA, check out www.grenfell.mun.ca/mfa.