Arts & Entertainment

Mason H.S. Students Win at ‘Women of Kokolopori’ Art Show

kokoartbrindleyRenditions of life in a remote jungle area of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been put on display in Falls Church as part of the“A Day in the Life of the Women of Kokolopori” art exhibit.

 

 

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MASON HIGH SCHOOL eighth-grader Maeve Curtin’s winning artwork.

 

 

Renditions of life in a remote jungle area of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been put on display in Falls Church as part of the“A Day in the Life of the Women of Kokolopori” art exhibit.

Opening this past Wednesday night at ArtSpace Falls Church, the works on display are the products of George Mason High School (GMHS) students.

Falls Church Arts Events Chairman Barbara Cram, who organized the show, said, “The opening was an amazing event not only because of the quality of the work on display, but also because of the quantity and the age of the contestants. Falls Church should be proud of all of this young talent that’s already so accomplished; the sky is the limit for them.”

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GMHS FRESHMAN Meredith Brindley’s piece.

 

The pieces deal with the daily life of women in the isolated area. Falls Church’s sister city, Kokolopori, is a series of just ten villages in the Congo spanning an area of ten miles in the world’s second-largest rainforest.

The sister city partnership between Falls Church and Kokolopori began in 2006 and has been beneficial to both participants. Donations from the City of Falls Church have paid for the construction of medical clinics and the salaries of doctors and nurses. Also, since Kokolpori has no electricity, Falls Church money was able to purchase and install a solar panel in Kokolopori. Kokoloporians must retrieve their own water from a water source a mile away, and a plan to get a better water system in place is the next step in the partnership.

This art project was devised so that the younger generation of Falls Church could get a better understanding of the partnership, and personalize it.

“We wanted the students to get an idea of what life is like for these women in such an isolated part of the world. It’s important because we all need to realize how lucky we are over here,” said Cram.

Over 80 works were submitted, but only 18 made the display walls at ArtSpace. Winners were chosen from two categories, Traditional and Contemporary.

The top three in the Traditional category, in order, were Meredith Brindley, Emily Rueckert and Claire Constance. Brindley is a freshman at GMHS, while Rueckert and Constance are sophomores. The Contemporary top three were eighth-grader Maeve Curtin, sophomore Claire Acosta and freshman Kat Gal.

The students were guided by Mason High art teacher, Maria Shields, whom Cran called a “gem.”

“Maria is so energetic and positive. She doesn’t prescribe, she inspires, and it was that inspiration and vision that really brought out the best in these students,” said Cram. “Maria is like a great coach who finds a way to get the players to reach inside for those last drops of energy and turn them into moments of brilliance. Teachers like her are rare, and we’re so happy she was a part of this.”

The exhibition will be on display at ArtSpace (410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church) for the rest of the summer.

“This was such a positive and enriching experience,” Cram said, adding it’s her desire to make it an annual show for students.