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Students perform their art

Alla Laycock VR Headset Art Piece

Four Barnsley College (@barnsleycollege) Higher Education students showcased their creativity and talent through a performance art show for their end of year project.

A first for the College, the show was a collection of work produced by BA Hons Fine Art students, combining visual art and immersive performances using sound, music, technology and poetry influenced by their life experiences.

Anna Ngahan’s piece, Creating Roots, was a large tree installation made from recycled plastic bags. She wanted to emphasise and create awareness about how the continued use of plastics will affect the future. Taking old rituals and beliefs from her Estonian background she represented a fairy-tale forest guard who, according to an old Estonian belief, protects the forest and supports the human mind.

With her project she wanted to let people know that amazing artwork can be created by reusing everyday waste and create a vision for a better place to live for ourselves and future generations.

Alla Laycock’s ‘River of Memory’ was a live virtual reality performance projected on a screen using a VR headset, sound and music to create a 3D multimedia painting influenced by her memories. Marks, lines and colours told the story, revealing unconscious thoughts and interpretation of memory. Her work serves as a platform to build an individual subjective interpretation based on personal emotions, feelings, and memories.

Elizabeth Ashton’s ‘Coming to Terms’ was a representation of how she has, and will continue to, face her fears of being a mother, a nurse, an artist and a survivor of domestic abuse. Elizabeth wanted to show the importance of art therapy and how as humans we need to express ourselves. Facing her fears from the past and present, she has found strength and solace through art.

E-Jay Dawber’s performance was about gender identity and the struggle felt everyday being non-binary and what it’s like living in the middle of two binary boxes, male or female. E-Jay expressed this for the first time through art and poetry.

Held at the College’s Electric theatre, the students were able to demonstrate their art to a small invited audience.

E-Jay said:

“The show was a great experience. I wanted people to know how it felt always being forced into society’s boxes of gender. I wanted to put my voice out there for those who can’t, I wanted to be heard and seen and for the first time in my life at the performance I felt truly myself.”

Peter Lawton, Higher Education Pathway Leader for Creative Industries at Barnsley College, added:

“The students have worked hard and their creativity has been demonstrated by their brilliant pieces. The show was amazing, very thought provoking and entertaining.

“The College aims to provide students with an outstanding experience, to ensure that they leave us as well-rounded individuals, ready to take the next step into Higher Education or a career. Performance Art provides a wider scope for our students to express themselves and allows them to think more creatively. This is the first time we have asked students to showcase their end of year project through performance art and we are hoping to include it as a module on the course next year.”

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