GCD: Artistic Expression (Performing Arts & Visual Arts)

The Arts were always one of my passion. I have always been involved in music, from attending music school on Saturday’s, learning the piano, participating in choir, and learning the Music theory. I also remember, way back for in our fifth grade PYP exhibition, I had chosen Visual Arts as my topic of research and presentation. Entering the IB, I have decided to continue to pursue Visual Arts as one of my classes as well. Although one of the greatest sources of inspiration for my persistent involvement in the Arts would be my parents. My father was a drummer and a guitarist, and my mother would sing, but they had long-served in the church choir. In spite of their passion for music, they were both from a science background, with my father as a medical doctor, and my mother, a nurse. Yet, this has not stopped me from exploring the Arts both in and outside of school.

One of the greatest things about YIS is that they provide students opportunities to express themselves in various ways possible. For instance, a student with a passion for solving real-world issues and public speaking would join Model United Nations (MUN), and a student who was passionate about photography would join the Photography Club, or even if a student who was always interested in robots, they would join the Robotics club, and the list goes on and on.

Events and student lead concerts is a huge part of our school as well. Through this, I had the chance to be in a band (YIS Music Production). This was an opportunity to work with people who were equally as passionate about music and talent instrument players. As a vocal singer and frequent backup singer, I had slowly acquired harmonizing skills quickly without the piano, since our practice was dedicated for performances, we had a limited time to learn our own parts. Through my background in classical piano for eleven years, I became used to reading music sheets, attaining counts and rhythms, and hearing the main melody and chord progressions as well. During my experience in Solfège, we were frequently tested by our abilities to listen and write down a set of melody on piano played by the teacher. Since then, playing the piano by ear was something I was grateful for, particularly under time limits.


Further on, I had used my harmonizing skills on other performances with both the lowerclassmen and upperclassmen. I had felt that despite the differences in grade level, I was able to get along with them through music and work in harmony towards the performance. Harmonising is an extra touch to the vocals, bringing a sense of unity. The music sounded better and soothing to hear. Even though I had no longer took the music course at school, I always felt that by performing, I was able to connect with music and utilize my vocal and piano skills.

Outside of school, I would use music at the church by playing the piano. My church had both a Chinese and Japanese service, but I was mostly involved in the Chinese service. One of the difficult things was working with people who spoke Chinese because I was not as fluent in the language. I had felt that I was not able to communicate my intentions and suggestions clearly because of the language barrier. Although through music and worship, I slowly overcame that language barrier should not stop me from praising and serving at church, and using music for beneficial ways.

Apart from my participation in music performances, I had started to dance as well. Although I had taken ballet classes for seven years, after joining the Dance Company, I had become interested in developing dance skills for hip pop. In our recent performance, we had combined two different dance genres: One group in charge of the Hip-hop part and another for the Contemporary. Although I was more comfortable with hip-hop, I wanted to try something new so I decided to take the Contemporary part. I was no longer flexible as I was in my ballet years, but I had learned to appreciate a dance genre; one that I would have never thought I would cover. Dance had taught me to go out of my comfort zone and accept all

kinds of styles.

Spring Concert 

Although at the very end, the most important components of the Arts would be my passion for the Visual Arts. Out of the Seven Learning Styles, I was always a Visual and Aural learner. I had not realized that by pursuing music and visual arts, I carried these learning styles throughout my life, and classes like the IB Visual Arts. Although it was required to keep an art journal,  I wanted to expand the unit: Culture and Place more, and hence, started on my own personal journal. What I love about art is that you are able to explore your own interests and style, so I collected a number of artists and examined their art techniques and aesthetic.

My first studio piece for the unit: Culture and Place

I discovered that I had an eye for colors and lines, and found artists who were known for their use of bright, primary colors, like Keith Haring; Jordy van den Nieuwendijk; Margaret Kilgallen, as well as, artists who had more of a simple and minimal work like Frédéric Forest and Ellsworth Kelly.

The more I researched, I saw a connection between the different, yet not so different artists. Haring, Nieuwendijk, Kilgallen and her former husband, Barry McGee (also an artist), all were involved and/or started with street art or graffiti in their art career. They were engaged in a specific place, a shared public space: the streets and street culture. Art can be made anywhere at any time and place, and something I come to realize was that art itself is a culture in a way, because it brings people together, inspires people, and a significant component of defining myself as a complete individual.

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