In conjunction with the Hispanic Heritage Festival, this collection of work by visual art students from the Alabama School of Fine Arts explores the theme of identity and culture in diverse ways. As high school students, these young artists are searching for understanding of who they are as artists and also as people. They are developing, choosing, nurturing, and coming to terms with their identities. These students examine their individuality in relationship to the circumstances that have shaped them by exploring personal histories, cultural pressures, familial influences, and the close observation of the physical identity.
"Garden of Youth" by Julie-Anne “Juju” Lee As someone who is at a stage of maturation and holds an intense curiosity, I have always been questioning the relationships I have in my everyday life. I have been raised in an environment where emphasis is put on relationships with family and kin, in a small community where high standards are typical. I have always been frustrated and unsure of myself, thinking that I should not be questioning my relationships and should be silent for routine’s sake. But after exploring the world and expressing myself, I am now able to finally embrace myself for who I am and reach out to the world with its beauty, while also staying true and honest to myself and others. This piece tells a story of a time in spring where a struggle between selfishness and selflessness, silence and expression, and of frustration and freedom took place. The piece asks a question to the viewer on what they are willing to do to keep their identity and what the viewer is willing to do in their struggle of the self and others. The piece tells a story where if one is to truly love others and themselves, they must be willing to express themselves with no hesitation even if they must fight for it.