Last month we announced the 2015 Adobe Creativity Scholars, a group of 25 who will enter their post-secondary education and creative pursuits in the Fall. These talented youth come from varied regions, backgrounds, and artistic media.
The scholars we profiled last week brought us clarity around a diverse collection of social concerns. Today we introduce the last of our series showcasing a group of creative scholars who use their art not only for self-expression, but to convey issues of personal importance.
Whether through fashion, music, language, film or art, expressing ourselves is an innate activity that begins within us. This week’s scholars dare to create unique pieces that underscore the tension between social pressures to conform, and the need to assert our individualities. We are asked to understand barriers associated with self-expression such as having to learn a new language, feeling excluded and the temptation to be driven by society’s expectations rather than one’s own calling.
East Elmhurst, New York, USA
Edwin’s music video The Voice Within articulates the individual struggles of four youth who find themselves at a crossroads, facing life-altering decisions – should they remain on the questionable paths they’re on, or listen to their conscience that speaks of redirection? Eighteen year-old Edwin reflects upon the adolescent years as a time of soul searching, growth and finding ones’ place in the world: “This experience has helped cultivate my growth as a photographer and filmmaker by allowing me to focus my energy on creating digital projects that address social issues in my community.”
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
In her video Cadenza, 19 year-old Tia addresses our need for individuality and self-expression. Tia’s main character Rae is a teen that sports combat boots, piercings and a classical violin. Rae plays her violin to slip away from the challenges she experiences due to language barriers – both physically and linguistically. In contrast to her struggle to learn and understand English, Rae speaks fluently through music noting “nothing is more raw than an emotion expressed through sound.” From a visual perspective Tia wants to “create media that impacts people in a positive and powerful way.”
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Nineteen year-old Yamilet has a unique way of drawing her viewers into an empowered state using her illustrations. She presents us with a range of posters that weave vibrant colors and varied textures to express the social causes that are important to her. Yami’s Designs summon us to participate in personal and community conscious choices such as life-saving organ donations, diverse housing practices, energy savings and healthy lifestyle options. Yamilet enjoys “researching social issues, developing design concepts, and, crucially, crafting a compelling call to action. “
In Abdelhadi’s video Leave Me Alone he explores the impact of exclusion on the person who is excluded. Feeling disliked, helpless and alone, his main character responds by treating others poorly, stealing a soccer ball from a kid, and speaking to others disrespectfully – further alienating himself. Twenty year-old Abdelhadi exposes the vicious circle that occurs when youth are ostracized by their peers. Abdelhadi plans to encourage others to use film as a medium of self-expression: “I am a passionate film maker with huge dreams… to guide the next generation in the field of film making.”
Mexico City, Mexico
Micaela’s documentary A Love Letter to Mexico tells her story in three segments: writing the letter, speaking up and taking action. “Writing the letter” gathered community artists to paint an old school bus with images that convey their love for Mexico. While “speaking up” they drove the bus through town to share the positive messages and images. To take action they transported people from marginalized communities to art exhibits and classes. In her video Micaela, age 18, asks why sharing art is so important – “Art broadens our perspective and also helps us understand who we really are – by expressing and exploring our creativity… we are able to really get our message across.”
London, United Kingdom
Nineteen year-old Paulo’s documentary style music video Let Me Dream contrasts the dreams envisioned by youth with the realities experienced by adults who did not pursue their own. The lyrics in the music parallel the advice given by adults: be true to your calling and stay with it, even when others doubt you. His video encourages us to give voice to our dreams in spite of pragmatic pressures. In Paulo’s opinion, “what makes us human are our hopes and dreams of the future.”
Patricia Cogley is program manager, Adobe Youth Voices.