Faith inspires art at youth showcase

Margarita Tymenko, 19, was awarded Best in Show at the 13th Annual High School Juried Art Show, held Friday at the Mann Art Gallery. -- Photo by Jessica Gies

Jessica Gies

Special to the Daily Herald

The faith of a young Prince Albert woman has inspired her to paint an award-winning portrait.

Senior high school student Margarita Tymenko took Best in Show Friday at Mann Art Gallery’s annual youth art show for Jesus Our Friend, an oil on canvas piece depicting the strong arm of a man holding the hand of a weeping child. 

“Jesus loves us,” she explained. “When we need some help, Jesus helps us.”

Tymenko, 19, moved to Prince Albert from Ukraine nearly two years ago. Now attending Grade 12 at Carlton Comprehensive Public High School, the artist only began painting on canvas last year, gradually evolving her art from painting on paper beginning at age 10. 

It took Tymenko nearly 25 hours to complete her Best in Show piece. Despite delighting dozens of Mann Art Gallery patrons with her work displayed Friday, Tymenko admits she tends to see the flaws in her paintings, hesitant to even acknowledge herself as an artist. 

After graduation, Tymenko says she will focus on working, but will continue to paint when she finds inspiration. Her portrait of Jesus Our Friend will remain at Mann Art Gallery until the end of the high school exhibit June 8.  

All told, there were more than 50 entrants to the 13th Annual High School Juried Art Show, with representation from across Prince Albert in a variety of mediums. 

Among them was Adrianiel Tagaro, who won the Creative Clay Award for his sculpture of Mother Ignacia. The youth spent hours sculpting the symmetrical face of the Catholic nun, a prominent figure of faith in his Filipino culture. 

The 18-year-old Carlton student intentionally melded the image of Mother Ignacia with a dotting technique used in local indigenous art, commenting how he was pleased with his results. 

“It was impossible at first,” Tagaro said, explaining his artistic process. “It was just in my mind. It was just an idea.”

Adrianiel Tagaro took the Creative Clay Award for his sculpture of Mother Ignacia. — Photo by Jessica Gies

The young artist took on the challenge, accepting help from teachers and friends on the project. It took up to 20 layers of paint to create the correct colour texture for the sculpture’s face, he said.

Tagaro finds more than a subject of his art in the story of Mother Ignacia’s sacrificial service.

“It inspires me as a person to be humble,” he said.

Altogether 10 youths were awarded at Friday night’s opening reception of the high school art show. Grade 10 student Owen Willie received the Artistic Innovation Award for his metal sculpture called Cowpoke. Zyrah Macatuno, also in Grade 10, was awarded for Creative Exploration in Any Medium for a photography entry called Sunscreen. Grade 11 student Siobhan McKinney received the Emerging Artist Award for an acrylic on canvas piece called Farm House. Alex McLeod, a Grade 11 student, took the Juror’s Choice Award for photography entry Alter Ego. 

The Artistic Achievement Award was passed to Isabella Peters for her pencil sketching piece entitled Styles. Two artists were named for the Barb Lacey Memorial Award: Kain Torgersen, a Grade 9 student, received the award for Deathnote created with alcohol markers; Grade 12 student Emily Hrynuik was awarded for Buffalo Runner, a mixed medium beadwork on leather piece. Naviah Johnson, a Grade 11 student, took the Photography Award for Windows to the Soul.

The People’s Choice remains to be announced, with those visiting the high school art show exhibition able to cast their ballot until the award announcement on June 8.  

Doug Allen, a community elder and long-time arts instructor in Prince Albert, gave opening remarks to signal the start of the awards ceremony Friday. He encouraged the young artists present to pursue something they love without giving up when there are roadblocks.

“Just keep going,” he told them. “Don’t stop.” 

Rebecca La Marre, an artistic director new to the Mann Art Gallery, had high praise for the talented youths.

“I’m really impressed with the caliber of the work,” she told the crowd gathered at the reception. “Each piece really has something fantastic about it,” she said, adding that young artists who did not receive an award should not be discouraged as all art will find an admirer.