Mahiro Matsumoto

The IB art exhibition room included low lighting, tall walls and tapestries to hang the artists’ pieces.

Seniors showcase their artwork in annual IB art exhibition

April 22, 2022

On March 31, seniors Ashritha Chandy and Mahiro Matsumoto showcased their latest artwork in the annual IB art exhibition. A two-year commitment, the IB Art program requires students to compose a minimum of ten pieces surrounding a singular, chosen theme and host an exhibition, allowing the public to see their pieces for the first time.

Senior showcases her artwork surrounding ‘connection to animals’ in IB art exhibition

Mahiro Matsumoto:

I was so lost on what my themes were and I didn’t know what I was doing,” Matsumoto said. “I took a break by stepping away at one point, and refreshed my view to ask myself ‘What is my value?’ and ‘What is it I want to communicate as an artist?’ and the final exhibition turned out better than I ever expected it to be.”

Matsumoto’s theme was “Connection to Animals,” initiated with her personal connection to her companion dog, Bae, which she adopted during quarantine. 

“Portrait of my dog in pencil,” is one of Matsumoto’s favorite pieces. In this, she depicts her individual perception of Bae and attempts to construct a deeper understanding of her as an individual. 

Matsumoto poses next to her watercolor tiger piece, inspired by “The Angel’s Share” by Heidi Taillefer. (Abby Lincks)

“This sketch allowed me to refresh my understanding on my dog’s proportions, as well as realizing the different tones of artwork she gives with different facial expressions and posture,” Matsumoto said. “[This] helped my understanding and contributed to improve further artworks about my dog.” 

Throughout the exhibition, there are many pieces surrounding Bae from Matsumoto’s sketch of Bae, another one using oil pastels and a portrait with acrylic paint of Matsumoto herself alongside Bae. 

“You could definitely see my development throughout the series of portraits of my dog in different medias,” Matsumoto said. 

Transitioning from her companion dog to a deeper, internal connection with animals through her Japanese cultural background, Matsumoto created ““華虎” – a watercolor tiger piece. The tiger is filled with flowers to express the individuality of animals, drawing inspiration from “The Angel’s Share” by Heidi Taillefer. 

“I usually never do water color media, and I favor ink pens,” Matsumoto said. “I never thought of combining these two medias together, but it turned out very nice with two different medias drawing contrast to each line and color elements.”

During the exhibition, Matsumoto’s pieces were showcased amidst low lighting and hanging tapestries, emulating a dynamic, artsy environment, where just before the exhibition, she was still pondering her main message. 

“I was not seeing a clear vision of my exhibit until the very last minute, and I do feel like thinking ahead of time would have helped,” Matsumoto said. “At the same time, I also feel that, as an artist, we should always be growing our artistic sense and creativity, thus what has turned out as an outcome is always the perfect art.”

When the exhibition was open, though the artwork was on full display, Matsumoto’s inspiration, artistic process, and mind was just as centered. And in this, her experience upon people viewing her art was forever changed. 

“I have never even thought about other people seeing and enjoying my artwork, but I was surprised some people really liked the exhibition,” Matsumoto said. “I never expected other people to enjoy my art that they would take pictures of them, but many people did, and it was my first time experiencing how it feels to entertain people and make smiles through my artworks.” 


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Senior showcases her artwork surrounding ‘familial memory’ in IB art exhibition

Ashritha Chandy:

“When you open your art up to the public, you see everybody else’s interpretations and how your art inspires them to connect their own memories to this cool object that they see,” Chandy said. 

Brainstorming theme ideas, Chandy originally thought of nostalgia, but later narrowed it down to familial memory, as the majority of her pieces surround childhood memories.

Chandy stands in her “Hall of Memories” made of polaroid pictures hung by wire from the ceiling. (Abby Lincks)

“Typically the people that are prominent in your memories are your family,” Chandy said. “I feel like that plays such a big part in our lives, and I thought it would be a good thing to base my artworks off of.” 

“Outreach,” a sculpture of hands, began as mere experimentation and use of a common motif, but transitioned into a moving symbol of Chandy’s family trying to stay connected amidst her sister, Smrithi Chandy, moving to A&M for college.

“The whole piece represents how families start to move apart because someone is moving away, moving on with their own lives, but you’re still connected,” Chandy said. “You’re still reaching towards each other.”

“Hall of Memories,” the reason why Chandy went with a theme of familial memory, is composed of polaroid pictures of family and memory hanging from the ceiling, allowing visitors to literally walk through her memories. 

“I think that one [“Hall of Memories”] is probably one of my favorite’s because I had never done an installation piece before,” Chandy said. “It was kind of cool just to set up and piece together, see how little pictures can turn into something that’s more interactive for the audience.”

“Moment in Time,” an acrylic painting of Chandy’s older sister, stems from a family vacation several years ago to northern India. At the Red Fort in Agra near the Taj Mahal, a place that’s representative of Indian art and culture. 

“There’s a lot of culture behind that so I feel like that was a good way to tie in Indian identity while also tying in family memories and being born in America but still connecting to that,” Chandy said.

Combining the use of a wide range of mediums from plastic gauze, acrylic paint, graphite, film and wire, with subtopics like loss, highlighted in her acrylic painting of her grandfather “Achachan,” further diversified her collection. 

“Because it [last school year] was virtual, that meant we had to do everything at home and making art at home was not fun,” Chandy said. I was just not inspired at all. So honestly, I’m happy with how everything turned out and the exhibition itself, I think it went great.”

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