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Senior art show opening ‘Petals and Paths’ culminates themes of family, nature through ceramics

Photo credit: Oona Seppala
Annie Friedman (’24) and Malia Apor (’24) pose for a photo in front of the title wall for their “Petals and Paths” senior art show. Friedman and Apor are Advanced Study Ceramics students and chose to display pottery with themes of nature and family Wednesday, March 6. “I’m drawn to using one glaze called overglaze to make it more cohesive,” Friedman said. “I know Malia uses something called underglazing sometimes, and it’s cool that there’s multiple different ways.” 

Students entered the gallery, snacking on snickerdoodle cookies. Teachers entered eagerly, holding their phones to take pictures. Parents entered, smiling ear to ear. They all looked around, taking in every detail, photograph, word and ceramics piece.

Annie Friedman (‘24) and Malia Apor (‘24) stood at the door of the Eastern Star Gallery Wednesday, March 6, welcoming visitors to the opening of their senior art show. Friedman and Apor displayed original ceramics works they’ve created in their advanced study class this year. This exhibit marked the beginning of all senior art shows, which will rotate featured senior artists nearly every week until May 17.

“The theme of our show is essentially nature and human connection to nature — ‘Petals and Paths,'” Friedman said. “When you go in there, there’s an artist statement, which is a paragraph about how my pieces employ more clean lines and simplicity, while Malia’s are about family, and they’re more abstract. But they really compliment each other.”

The pair began setting up the exhibit in early March with the help of ceramics teacher Olivia Moon and Visual Arts Department Chair Marya Alford. Both seniors started taking ceramics in ninth grade over Zoom. Friedman explained that though there are many similarities between their artwork, their approach to their artwork is vastly different, which is one of the reasons their show worked so well.

One pedestal in the exhibit displays a ceramic bowl with a house, along with a set of layered ceramic hands Malia Apor (’24) created. Apor’s pieces were inspired by connection and the power of family. (Photo credit: Oona Seppala)

“I was always drawn to using one glaze to make it more cohesive. I’m really drawn to more neutral natural tones like greens, blues, browns, white. So that’s most of what I use, and I think I was inspired by it. I just started playing around with it, and I really enjoyed it, so I kept going with it,” Friedman said. “Malia was inspired to connect her family to her art, so her consistency comes from that. So even though we had our own styles of pieces, we just kept it consistent throughout the semesters, and then we realized that ours worked well together.”

Friedman explained that in both intro and intermediate ceramics, students create projects with guidelines and criteria. Advanced Study Ceramics has less strict assignments and projects, which allows artists to express themselves more creatively through their work.

“There weren’t specific projects we’ve had in the past, and really we get to do whatever we want to be able to display to the community,” Apor said. “Across our class, you can see how all our work varies from each other. It makes it a lot more fun when everyone can be creative and choose what they like. Then, everyone’s personalities show through.”

Senior Avalon Straiton attended the opening of the event to support her fellow seniors. She said she was moved by the artwork, as well as her friends’ dedication to their disciplines.

Apor’s ceramic bust of a woman’s head and senior Annie Friedman’s blue vase are displayed in the Eastern Star Gallery. Though thematically different, they said their pieces worked well together due to their consistency in style through the semester. (Photo credit: Oona Seppala)

“The show transcended what I had envisioned in my head,” Straiton said. “Not only did it look like a real museum, but the concept of mixing family and nature was beautiful. The atmosphere of the event was great, and I’m really happy I was able to show my support for my fellow seniors and friends.”

Friedman explained that another reasons why her and Apor’s art worked well together was that they stayed consistent to their developed styles over the course of the year. Whether it was hand building or working on the wheel, they said this past year helped them solidify their style as artists.

“I feel like over the [past] four years, we’ve dedicated a lot of time to art,” Apor said. “So it’s nice to have a time, place and date to display it and show it to our friends, our parents and family.”

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About the Contributor
Oona Seppala, Senior Reporter
Oona Seppala joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She plays on the varsity tennis team, is a member of Archer's a cappella group, is on the Honor Education Council and Service Squad. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, and playing instruments.

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