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A memorial to Abdifatah Mohamud, the IPrep student murdered by his stepfather last year.
Works inspired by Simon Rodia, creator of the Watts Towers.
Law Aung's portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and martin Luther King, Jr.

Student artwork from International Preparatory School and Stanley G. Falk School

A bit off the art exhibits beaten path is a cornucopia display of paintings and drawings and sculpture by International Preparatory School at Grover middle and high school students and Stanley G. Falk School elementary and middle students, at the current temporary location of both these schools in the former Performing Arts School on Clinton Street. The exhibit includes a memorial artwork by IPrep students for Abdifatah Mohamud, the 10-year-old boy who was beaten to death by his stepfather last year, who had been a student at their school.

The memorial work consists of a galaxy array of similar but each one different globes of glue-stiffened string hung from above in the hallway adjacent to the exhibit space. “Each globe is individual, and each one represents a memory of Abdi,” Becky Moda, one of the art teachers, said. The other teachers whose students’ works are on show are Tanya Chutko and Craig Puffer.

The hundreds of works on display cover walls and tables and parts of floors and sometimes hang from the ceiling. A spectacular, colorful hanging sculpture in imitation of the work of glass artist Dale Chihuly is composed of plastic water bottles painted and sliced into ribbony curls. It’s a collaborative piece by students of the Falk school.

These students are learning about art by looking at art, and then doing. Sections of the exhibit are devoted to work inspired by the work of such disparate artists as Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miro, Wayne Thibaud, Nancy Rubins, the artist of the gargantuan canoes sculpture outside the Albright-Knox, and Simon Rodia, the artist of the Watts Towers construction in a poverty section of Los Angeles. There’s a lot of emphasis on reusing supposed “junk” materials in artworks. The art of recycling.

The Simon Rodia inspired works uses straws of rolled-up magazine pages as structural elements. William Turner, a freshman at IPrep, one of the student artists involved in the Rodia constructions, thought these were also a little inspired by the Kenneth Snelson stainless steel pipes and cables sculpture outside the Albright-Knox.

Delving deep into psychological realms, there is a section on “Dreamscapes,” with attached information on post-it notes on the original dream and/or the pictorial interpretation of the dream. A work by Dargin K. depicts “two guys…having a paint battle on my brain.” A work by Marcel Tillen, called The Scary Guy, depicts a ghost-like large figure and several not quite as scary smaller figures. A work called The Nothing presents nondescript shapes against various background colors, by artist Christopher S. A top and bottom mirror-image piece by artist Hla Htet Thar is called Same. The artist asks: “What is happening?” And explains: “Everwhere is the same. The tornado, the pyramid, the cloud, the lightning.” An unsigned work is about a guy who gets hit in the head and “sees a lot of cool shapes,” including many signature Miro shapes—swirls and asterisks and stars.

There is a pair of excellent freehand drawings—heads of the two great civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi—by Law Aung. Among other notable drawings, a lion head by Kaprue Htoo, a portrait bust by Jeska Perez-Lopez, a comical cartoon dog by Bernie Gomez, a meticulously rendered wolf head by Nate Voss, a still life metal pitcher by Afnan Ahmed, a sketch of a house front and trees or shrubs—not quite finished-looking, a work in progress—by Emmanuel Iheke, and a stately standing profile lion by Aye Aye Ktike.

From some of the older students, it looks like, there are computer graphics works and a half dozen or so elegant paper cut-out construction architectural models. A modernistic pyramid and dome dance studio and gymnasium by Eli Serrano, other domes of various sorts by K Maw, José Rodriguez, and Carlos Becerril, and a spiraling dome mosque by Khalid Mohamed.

There is a Dia de los Muertos display of symmetrically decorated skull paintings, and Alexander Calder inspiration wire sculptures, and a few dozen folded-pages book art sculptures inspired by works in the windows of the Western New York Book Arts Center. Another art recycling project.

The IPrep and Falk schools show continues through March 28. A satellite display to the exhibit at the school is ongoing through the exhibit period at the Massachusetts Avenue WASH Project, in the laundromat at the corner of Massachusetts and 18th Street.

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