Exhibition / Past

Contemporary Art: Culver City High School Academy of Visual And Performing Arts

April 1, 2023 to October 22, 2023
The Wende Museum

Thirteen art students from Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA), ages 17 and 18, present artwork inspired by the Wende Museum’s collections and exhibitions that establish a meaningful connection between the past and the present.

Shaniece Cornelius, Liz Davis, Grace Erekson, Ava Frans, Tobey Greenberg, Lola Hamilton, Allie Kim, Lauryn Kinsella, Fia Layne, Maia Lazor, Lijeia Marinuara, Yahira Ruvalcaba Palos, and Koji Schafer found inspiration in the Museum’s propaganda posters, ceramics, scrapbooks, ceremonial flags, collages, a Hungarian Cold War painting pairing the red star of socialism with the Coca-Cola logo, and the artistic representation of Asia.

The AVPA is a specialized program created in 1996 through a grant from the State of California with major support from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Shaniece Cornelius
These pieces contain the seasons Summer, Fall and Winter. I wanted to convey how the seasons are all connected in some way by portraying an apartment building outside of my room. These pieces show the same trees connected to their past selves by the change in the color and the amount of leaves it has. These three watercolor paintings are all done around the same time of day and they were each done about a year apart; they also illustrate the unique climate of Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, spring doesn’t differ too much from its winter and summer doesn’t differ too much from its spring other than the fact that the rain stops. I made these with mainly watercolor and some color pencils. I have yet to make Spring, which is the final addition to this collection of pieces. All the seasons are connected with the past and the future and it is shown by the trees and weather.


Liz Davis
Through formidable times of war and propaganda, all young minds ever longed for was freedom—a sanctuary of individual expression—an opportunity to reach beyond the frontier.


Grace Erekson
My piece is a representation of the past and present through the eyes of an adult looking back on their childhood. It shows a window looking out to a past memory with an empty swing and a kite flying away, revealing a child’s innocence. Growing up is a complex concept for many people and they have this want to go back and stay in the picture-perfect life as a kid playing outside. This was an acrylic piece to show the loss of our past and the hope; the window is a nostalgic spot for our inner child.


Ava Frans
I created this piece to reflect the cyclical nature of time and its interaction with history. Although we often think of time as linear, it is in fact a constant flow of birth, death, and decay. No energy is lost or gained, and the cycle continues without fail. My flower sculpture is made of natural fibers dyed with turmeric, onion skins, and coffee. I chose cheesecloth for its delicacy and to reflect the state of being on the brink of life and death. I experimented with imperfect, organic wire shapes to convey our inevitable return to the earth, and natural dyes for their cross-cultural significance.


Tobey Greenberg
I wanted to create a self-portrait inspired by Sándor Pinczehelyi’s Small Star Coca-Cola III (1988) in the Wende collection as well as connecting the past and the present. My work displays a self-portrait of myself (at the age of 17) interacting and bonding with my younger self (at the age of 6). I wanted to build a piece that shows how one can interact and nurture their inner child through outward expression. I created the work using stylistic elements and the warm tones of the 1920’s Coca-Cola advertisements to tie in Pinczehelyi’s work. The piece is acrylic paint and embroidery on loose canvas.


Lola Hamilton
This piece is a reflection on the perception of mental health throughout our history. Mental health problems have been demonized for centuries and are only now becoming more understood and humanized. I created the roof floor with foam and cloth giving it a gray stone-like look to give the illusion of weight. I then used aluminum to frame my piece along with clay and acrylic paint for the furniture and people.


Allie Kim
Since the beginning of the Chinese Communist Party, its opposing forces have been actively protesting its regime because of its oppressive ways and violation of human rights. I wanted to show the continuation of the fight against communism by preserving significant moments in a scrapbook. On the left, I have depicted the Tiananmen Square Protests that occurred during the Cold War, where students led demonstrators to speak out against the corrupt government. On the right, I have displayed the “White Paper Protests,” which happened recently back in 2022, where people were protesting China’s zero-COVID policies and aggressive censorship measures. While from completely different times, both events were important stepping stones in the long-lasting fight for freedom and liberty.


Lauryn Kinsella
This piece was inspired by the bold designs of the 1950s found in propaganda and advertisements. I wanted to tie this style in with modern-day issues through a satirical take on the amount of screen-time that people accumulate today.


Fia Layne
My piece depicts my relationship with gender. Through the use of mixed media, ink, leaves, flowers, and string I hoped to convey the fluidity of gender through the use of abstract media to convey the organic-ness that gender does exist in and unlearning the binds of the European gender binary. I chose to attach the string to places in my body because I have gender dysphoria and to display my growth existing in a femme body but also existing outside the binary!


Maia Lazor
Lock and Hide directly references the Duck and Cover drills that took place in US schools during the Cold War, invoking the dystopia that today’s students face when preparing for the possibility of gun violence at school.


Lijeia Marinuara
This oil painting depicts abuse of power in the past and in the present. In the past, people were forced into hiding but in this modern day we have cultivated a culture of silence ignoring our part in society. This illustration is to encourage interacting with our own community to better understand each other’s lives.


Yahira Ruvalcaba
This piece is a commentary on capitalism and its long-lasting effects in our economy and safety. How its materialism can lead to war and inequality. I used pen and chalk pastel.


Koji Schafer
This piece expresses how fast time passes with each movement of a clock hands. There exist many different clocks all ticking in motion symbolizing clocks around the world all ticking and ticking. There is a little figure in the black clock symbolizing someone trying to push back time as if clock hands can move backward. The red lettering in the piece says “time” in Russian which goes along with the theme of the spread of communism during the mid-20th century. I used differing variations of acrylic colors to paint each clock to differentiate each time of the day the world is experiencing. It represents time passing a little too fast, not allowing time for reliving.