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The Way Home, A Utopian Collective Showcase At YHS

The Unity of Everything, Cedar Dobson, Prismacolor on paper (YHS)

OAKHURST — Artists, art lovers and supporters are invited to experience the Yosemite High School art department’s newest collective showcase, The Way Home, a Quest for Utopia.

The exhibit is open to the public on Thursday, May 30 with a student artists reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Badger Gallery. The evening’s offerings will include snacks and guests will be treated to live music.

“The pursuit of Utopia — in Latin meaning ‘the good place’ — has taunted humankind throughout the ages, inspiring the humanities, sciences, arts and politics all along the way,” says Yosemite’s arts department chair Evan Higgins. “[Utopia] has made countless appearances in film and literature. World religions have defined it. Throughout history there have been countless attempts to actualize it.”

This was the challenge put forth to students:

  • YHS Arts Department studied ways in which artists have responded to utopia in art history and, after writing about their own version of Utopia, students were asked to visually answer the question: what is Utopia in art?
  • IB Junior History Small groups examined past historical efforts made to establish utopias and why these failed or succeeded.
  • World Religions looked at hypothetical utopias based on religious ideals including Jainist, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Taoist.
  • A.P. Environmental explored the idea of designing a planning project to accommodate 70,000 people, with a focus on protecting the natural biodiversity of the natural system, enhancing the productivity of the area, and working with the natural features of the landscape while creating a space for human habitation. Human impact is inevitable, but mitigating the negative effects and bolstering habitat resilience is within our power and technological capabilities.
  • IB Biology put together an ethical discussion/showcase of genetically modified organisms, designer babies, CRISPR technology breakthroughs, and recent genetically modified humans in the pursuit of perfecting humans and their environment.
  • Theater Arts Department will present a monologue from the play Motherhood Out Loud, from a mother facing what her child wants versus what the world expects, and looking at how we create utopias within the family unit. Victoria Rosales will be performing the monologue, Queen Esther.

Utopia, Gabby Lazarcheff, watercolor and ink on paper (YHS)

“The Internet claims to have achieved [Utopia],” continues Higgings on the theme. “Modern scientists are developing technologies that claim to bring humanity closer to it. Some have asserted that America realized a version of it. Mark Rothko, the famous Abstract Expressionist painter, certainly thought his art could take people there.

“Many of us hang our hat on it, out there, just beyond where the sun sets amidst the pastel pinks and golds. Utopia may be an unrealistic fantasy or perhaps the mere aspiration in the right direction is a Utopia.

“As a Utopia, we might fall short, but a least the food will be good.”

Stop by Yosemite High School’s Badger Gallery on May 30 from 6 – 8 p.m. to see the collaboration.

Yosemite High School is part of the Yosemite Unified School District

Untitled, Andie Miller, acrylic and yarn on canvas (YHS)

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