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Youth Insights

Spring 2011
With Wardell Milan

YI Artists worked with artist Wardell Milan, who works in a variety of media, including collages, photography, and drawings, exploring themes of place and identity. Over the semester, teens investigated a number of works from the Whitney’s permanent collection, in addition to temporary exhibitions including Glenn Ligon: AMERICAand participated in a semester-long discussion on how artists approach politics, and other issues that affect the United States’ socio-political sphere. Working with Milan, students discussed the work of Glenn Ligon and reinterpreted his 1988 painting, (Untitled) I Am a Man. As Milan often considers ideas of personal identity and self-presentation in his work, he asked students to think about these issues in their own lives and represent them in different ways through their artwork.



Now that is clear, hello! As aforementioned, my name is Ariel, and I am nineteen, an optimist, and a student at City-As School (CAS), where I take classes on Tuesday and Thursday and work at an internship Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I transferred to CAS from Hunter College High School last year, and it's been an amazing experience. I've worked at the Animal Medical Center, at a funeral home, with an independent art curator, and at Groundswell Mural Project, a group that employs teens to paint large-scale murals around the city. I will be graduating this year, and I will be going on to earn my BA—and then my master's—so that I can be a high school English teacher, which has been my dream job since fourth grade.


My name is Elleni. In my sixteen years of experience I have yet to find the words that can really describe who I am. I'm from Washington Heights and my nationality is exclusively Dominican. I am interested in the broad field of art, but specifically I have a passion for sketching and creative writing. Art is a synonym for life. When I say life I mean it in a subjective and insightful way, not in a cheesy artificial way. I believe that art is the field where the existentialists gather. My inspiration comes from the stories, tall tales, and pieces of artwork that my predecessors have left behind for me. As I place my own perspective on their work, I am prompted to think about how amazing art is. It handles the different perspectives of each viewer with such grace. I hope to create work that will evoke a personal feeling for everyone who sees it. One day, I hope to create something that cannot be labeled with a word.


My name is Evelin. I am from Brooklyn and my background is Mexican. My interests are art and work in museums, and to learn the background history of museums. To me, art means a unique point of view and a sense of style. What inspires me most is the city because the movement is really exciting to watch, and it motivates me to go further. In the future, I hope to learn more about art history.


My name is Hannah and I am a student at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Although art has been a part of my life ever since I can remember—both my mother and grandmother are artists—I originally valued it more for its aesthetic appeal than for its conceptual aspects. I love giving tours at the Whitney because I am constantly learning that there so much more to art than meets the eye, and I hope to share just a small amount of this knowledge with other people. I believe that the reason art is so powerful is because it has the ability to communicate important ideas and create experiences between people that shatter typical barriers such as language or culture. Art can allow us to see the beauty in the simplest or most complex things. Someday I hope to be an artist, curator, civil rights lawyer, or all three.


I’ll begin by telling you my name is Hoi. I originate from the country of Hong Kong and have been living in the United States for about a decade or so. I would say that my life has been pretty exciting so far. Many people ask me what my background is, and I often have a conflicted answer because I’m not quite sure what they are asking. In most instances, they want to know where I am from; but to me, a large part of my culture and background has been created by my own decisions. One of the more important decisions I made a long time ago was to commit to the field of art for the rest of my life. One of my goals is to make people think. It is a rather simple yet seemingly impossible task in many respects. Of course, this goal is just a foundation for everything else I wish to achieve, and hopefully with the right attitude (and outfit), I will be able to alter the perception of others on subjects that really matter.


Hi! I'm Isabelle, or Izzy. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and I have had the privilege of accessing some of the world's greatest museums. My favorites include the Whitney, Museum of Modern Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I am currently a sophomore at Bronx Science, where I get to take AP Art History next yearI love spring, being barefoot, and all forms of art. I've always been interested in fashion and have found it to be an excellent way to express myself. I love to draw and paint as well.



Hey! I'm Kenneth. I am sixteen and I'm from Jamaica, New York. I love to run. I BMX bike in all sort of skate parks around New York. I love to eat. I'm a "screamer" and a singer. I like to listen to screamo, metal, and techno music. And I love both Japanese and German culture. The arts run in my family. My mom went to school for fashion design. To me, art is a way of expressing yourself and allows you to see things differently. I get inspiration from everyone, everything, everywhere.


My name is Maya and I am a sophomore at Bard High School Early College. I moved to New York from Israel when I was six years old with my parents and brother, and I speak fluent Hebrew. I like to paint, read, and watch movies. My family takes trips to odd places all the time, so I've gotten around.


My name is Natalie. I am currently a junior attending Bard High School Early College in Queens. I live in Bayside. I enjoy going to it's empty parks.

What first drew me to the arts is acting. Theater is something that is really important to me. Theater is very different from other art forms because there is no way to preserve it. It is recreated every time it is performed, and there is something really beautiful and inspiring about that. I also enjoy reading. I am enjoying all of the exposure to different forms of art.



Who am I? I am a leader. I am a writer. I am the student teachers love to have. I am a good daughter, sister, and friend. I am versatile. I am different. I am courageous. I am open-minded. I am compassionate. I am the lover not the fighter, but I will fight for what I love if I have to. I am multicultural. I was born and raised in New York. Since my family is made up of so many cultures and ethnicities, I think I can adapt to most situations and environments. I’m not afraid to take risks. I am Porscher, and I am proud of who I am and who I’m going to be!


I first became involved with the arts one cloudy Saturday afternoon back in 1999, in the small dainty green house wedged, along with two other houses, between two three story apartment buildings in a crowded neighborhood in Brooklyn. My cousin, who was only a year older than me, was my role model, and when she started drawing, I imitated her. What started as an imitation has truly evolved into an integral component of my self-expression. Now in 2011, I continue to draw, doodle, sketch, or paint digitally in my cozy home in Fresh Meadows, Queens. Although comics has become my main medium, sometimes I work with Cray Pas when I’m stressed about that seven-page paper, due in two days. Or I take it slow and subtle with colored pencils when I’m relaxing. But you know, being a teenager with hard-headed parents, it’s still difficult for me to find my own voice.



A 30-second online art project:
Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Sky/World Death/World

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