This year’s Trinity Art Show was organised by Elisa Natarelli and Eleanor Laffling, showcasing the ever-popular theme of minimalism. The co-curators displayed art through different media:  photography, sculpture, even cards. The exhibition took place at Trinity, in Seely Hall. The Strand had the opportunity to interview one of the curators, Elisa Natarelli, who provided insight on the goals and challenges of the show.

Natarelli described her experience as positive and almost challenge-free: “We are lucky that there are so many incredibly talented artists on campus who are willing to work with us, so finding the artists never posed a challenge. The community has responded so well to us since day one, and we have always had support in the creation of this show. However, the campus art scene is still growing, and our biggest challenge is giving a voice as well as bringing justice to student artists and showing our U of T community the incredible work that their peers create.”

The curators also mentioned that their partnership stemmed from their previous experience at last year’s show: “Prior to the 2016 Trinity Art Show, neither of us had curated an art show before. Eleanor brought me on as her Assistant Curator last year, and we worked so well together that we teamed up again this year as Co-Curators to make the show even bigger and better.”

Appealing to the wide public that is the University of Toronto presents some difficulties, but the Trinity students saw this as an opportunity to reach out to different communities: “It’s a really wonderful experience to get to meet people I never would have met if I hadn’t been a part of the show. We send the call for artists out to all three of the University of Toronto’s campuses, which really widens the network of people we get to work and engage with. It’s not an easy task, as we are still students, and the people we are working with are still students.”

Elisa also expressed her thoughts on the importance of art at UofT: “I think art at UofT is important because it is an expression of free thought, one which may be overlooked. We are constantly surrounded by art; our awareness of it depends on whether or not one chooses to see it. Our days at school are consumed with reading, writing, and lectures, and we often can’t find time for anything else. Art on campus is a reminder of the importance of self-expression at times when you could lose yourself in your studies. It is a reminder to do something for yourself.”

Lastly, we asked about the incentives for students to display their art at the show: “There are two great advantages to being a part of Trinity art show. The first being that many people attend the show, and when the artists are present, it allows for a dialogue between community and artist. The second being the sense of community, and getting to be a part of the art community not only at U of T, but in Toronto. There is something magical about having a number of artists and their works in a room, all displaying very different art with different meaning.”

I attended the show on the Saturday, and unfortunately did not have the chance to experience the opening night the curators had carefully prepared. When entering the silent room on a gloomy Saturday, I was sorely disappointed. The show was missing music and life; the only thing I could really observe were white wooden placards. While the art displayed showed character and originality, the monotony of the placards did not bring forward their best angles. However, the continuing theme of minimalism was professionally displayed and promoted. Their social media strategy had a strong aesthetic vision and appropriate set up. But while the show was technically well done, it lacked in engaging content and originality. Their enthusiasm, unfortunately, did not translate into the art. It seemed as though they had selected works based on what was in line with their vision, and not necessarily on the quality of submission. After having spoken with the curators and heard about their plans, I was surprised to find that my personal experience was so underwhelming. Overall, this year’s art show was genuinely well constructed in theory, but could have been more deeply explored in practice.

Photo | Charlène Hanania