Visual Artists Collective: For the Sake of Art

Lavinia Tanzim dips her paintbrush into a mixture of acrylics. She stands before an easel, perfectly focused, and begins a small stroke on her canvas. The brushstroke develops into a barrage of sunset colours, forming a halo around two embracing people.

Tanzim was thrilled to perform her live painting at Love Without Borders, an event hosted by Ryerson University’s International Student Support at the Student Learning Centre last Monday. Collaborating with them was an upcoming student group, the Visual Artists Collective.

With only seven members in the Visual Artists Collective, which is an unratified group at Ryerson for now, Tanzim hopes the event has attracted students. As the founder of the group, she sees a bright future.

“We’re going through the process of becoming an official Ryerson student group, so hopefully within the next month, that will happen,” said Tanzim, a second-year creative industries student.

The event aimed to explore the theme of love, home, and belonging through various art forms. Ryerson’s SLC featured a wide showcase of student creations displayed on stands. This was accompanied by live music and painting.

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Love Without Borders was the Visual Artists Collective’s first tackle at an event. The annual gathering features a lot of emotion within its art, which the group was happy to promote.

“We were looking for authenticity, someone’s genuine interpretation of love. Especially in a diverse way. We didn’t want to see hearts on a piece of paper. We wanted something unique and from their perspective,” said Akemi Liyanagen, a fourth-year journalism student and ambassador for ISS.

Art was curated through submissions of student work. The Visual Arts Collective and ISS’s aim was to show that caring has no borders.

“Borders are created by society, but there should be no borders when we care about or love someone,” said Sanjid Anik, ISS advisor and co-organizer of the event. “How does love look like for someone with a disability? For minority groups? What does love feel like when it’s long distance?”

The previous year’s event showcased writers and preforming artists who spoke about the different forms of love. This year, it was all about seeing and showing. According to Anik, the event’s take-away was to get people not to categorize love. To him, the word “love” should come from surroundings as an energy form.

With this, and future events they collaborate on or create, the Visual Artists Collective hopes to give students the chance to express themselves.

The goal of the group, according to Tanzim, is to create a space on campus where artists from all faculties of Ryerson can come together. Her intent is to allow students to expose their artistic style, along with learning and sharing new skills with one another.

The Visual Artists Collective came to life when Tanzim couldn’t find an outlet for her work. As an artist, she wanted to be able to express herself creatively. Her only option was to take initiative and create her own group.

By next year, Tanzim wants to see the group curate various workshops and social events. “We want to get people talking about art on campus,” she said.

With good music and artistic production, Love Without Borders was a successful start to the Visual Arts Collective. The bountiful amount of food served didn’t hurt either.

Photos by Yasmin Arnaout