Grade 12 students invited into the adult art world

Inspirational youth work on display at Xchanges gallery

Amber McLeod-Champagne is one of several secondary students whose work will be displayed in the Xchanges Student Invitational show from April 5 to 28.

When Sarah Hilton, 17, was pondering the idea of getting a tattoo, she drew her back with a graphite pencil.

At the nape of her neck she wrote IX VII MCMXLVI, her papa’s birthday – Sept. 7, 1946. She has always had a strong connection with her grandfather, even though he died before she was born.

“He named me Sarah after the dinosaur on The Land Before Time,” said the Belmont secondary student, adding he talked to her through her mother’s pregnant belly.

While the tattoo is still just an idea, Hilton likes how it looks on paper and may eventually add it to her body. The drawing will soon be on display at the Xchanges Student Invitational show.

Xchanges Gallery is hosting the show and had six of its adult artists go to six high schools in Greater Victoria to select Grade 12 students to participate.

Painter Richard Motchman, president of the gallery, was the artist who went to Belmont to select three students.

“We chose Grade 12 students because they are leaving school soon and we wanted them to connect with the adult art world,” he said. “The student’s art was really good and it was difficult to narrow it down and only pick three.”

Motchman invited Hilton and two of her Belmont classmates to the show.

Amber Mcleod-Champagne, 17, entered her piece titled Simplicity. The mixed media piece involves newspapers, a photo of her cat and acrylic paint.

“I think it’s really great. It’s important for us to get our work out there before we graduate,” McLeod-Champagne said. “It’s also very inspirational to see other people’s art.”

Laura Rechwan, 17, will also be a part of the show with her acrylic painting titled, It’s later than you think.

“It’s about the human destruction that occurs,” she explained. “My love for the natural world is what inspires me.”

Rechwan is excited to be a part of the show and to volunteer a shift in the gallery talking about her art to the public.

She is hoping for a career in art and will study at Camosun College in the fall in the visual arts program. The Colwood teen is also a director on the board for the West Shore Arts Council.

Work by students from around Greater Victoria is on display

There will be 20 students whose work will be on display at the show. The art spans paintings, ceramics, video, printmaking and other mediums.

Also included in the exhibition are Akira Weng, Delayney Leynguard and Sand-Do Lee from Mount Douglas Secondary; Duncan Grant, James Letkeman and Naomi Evers from Oak Bay High; Andrew Coderre, Melissa Fraser, Quin Mallory, Ren Hlasny and Trevor Lang from Spectrum middle school; Ali Green, Celine Bain and Rachel Hunter from Stelly’s Secondary; Alberta Trelawny, Medina Durzi-Percy and Regina Vega from Victoria High School.

The show opens April 5 at 7 p.m. and will continue until April 28.

The gallery, located at 2333 Government St., is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.