This spring, our ICP at THE POINT Wednesday teens took a field trip to The Bronx Museum to see the exhibition Bronx Focus: Paintings by Valeri Larko. Reflecting on our class discussions of community, students were able to see the continuation of our dialogue through their experience at the museum. The adoration of graffiti has been shared by many across the world and also has served as one the main aesthetics of New York City imagery, often stemming from the Bronx. Though Valeri Larko has chosen a different medium than photography, students were able to relate to the oil paintings in terms of landscape, color, texture, and composition. Looking at the details of the landscape that were included by Larko, students were able draw up an expansive conversation as well as tap into the understanding of visual language.We asked our students to reply to the exhibition. Here are some of their responses:
Anthony: During the field trip , I experienced a various amount of paintings that resembled the area of observation, in which they resonated with me as an artist
Maiya: I [saw a painting] of a girl in Knights clothing with graffiti as her background. It reminded me of the movie ‘Rubble Kings’ because of how all the gangs viewed each other and viewed their families within the Bronx area. I also compared it to ‘Fresh Dressed’ by viewing the Knights clothing as a way females express [themselves] within their environment.
Patricia: During this field trip I experienced different types of artwork that were based on my community. I really liked how [many] details were put into these paintings and the stories behind the paintings were very interesting.
Katherine: On this trip I have seen other peoples’ perspectives on a certain place in their community. For graffiti,I have always had a passion for it. I have always enjoyed people’s work and their different types of fonts.
Saul: This picture really makes me think about how the artist first gets really immersed in the picture and [she] has to paint it as it is. This reminds me of how as a community, people would come here to fish, as the caption says. As a community you sometimes all have one thing that brings you together; sometimes unexpected events happen that break up the common interest. But then again, that is what sometimes [is] necessary to be able to reconnect and find more bonds. Another point is how the port is still there and you can pass by it to reminisce and feel the nostalgia, instead of just placing some building that ruins the sentimental value.