This winter, after a year-long hiatus, Queen Mary’s Visual Arts Collective reappeared with a call for visual art from students of all disciplines. The Visual Arts Collective was formed in 2014 as a marriage between a bunch of different societies. Whereas in a University context we are often quick to associate co-curricular activities with their academic counterpart (journalism and poetry with the Literature students, theatre company with the drama, etc), this provided a new and welcome space for a range of students across a range of fields. This approach proved to be a resounding success: not only does the exhibition feature a multitude of works from across all disciplines, but in a whole range of mediums such as video, painting, photography, sculpture, and fashion as well.
It is often joked about that anyone with a DSLR camera can suddenly believe whole-heartedly that they are a photographer. Yet in such a visually rich modern society in which photography plays a large role in identity and memory, it makes sense that students pursue a visual practice such as photography in their free time. Because of the increasingly specified nature of the UK’s education system, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain an artistic practice without studying traditional fine art. However, many of us students studied art at an A-Level or GCSE level, and wish to continue with this passion alongside our current studies. The VAC has provided an essential space for those of us who did not wish to attend an art school or university but still wish to share their work. Because no matter how private one may be about their art-creating, sharing work is essential to the process in order to garner feedback and criticism.
Aside from only visual art, the exhibition will be home to film screenings from the film society, a DJ set, and on its final day, a poetry reading from Peach’s new edition: Oscillations. The exhibition is located in the basement of the Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton, just a three-minute walk from Hoxton train station. The space is ideal for a student art show due to its innovative and dynamic approach in representing and publicising work from emerging and local artists. The cafe on the ground floor is also, as many students have found out, an ideal workspace or place to chill with friends after lectures and seminars. After this two-week period of successful artistic liaising amongst a whole host of different Queen Mary’s students, we look forward to what the VAC intends on working on next.