“What does my inner self look like?”
“Are you curious about what secrets I’ve hidden inside my self-portrait?”
The relationship between children and their environment—
The world we live in has given the youth a pandemic to survive through; how do they respond?
In these self-portraits, the children hide their favourite things and symbols for viewers to find, just like a game. In the creative process, they are able to explore their own identities, reflect on their personalities and inner self, express the joys of their every day. The self-portraits link together visual arts, story, and learning experiences. This not only plays an important role in personal growth but also allows the youth to better understand and respect each other’s differences, creating a healthy interactive relationship with the society they live in.
Through collaboration with community and enterprises, Ziqiang Elementary School provides a diverse range of education, with a focus on ecology and art.
The school built a worm garden on campus, allowing students to observe the symbiotic relationship between earthworms and plants. School staff often communicate with other educators and organisations for ecology-based exchanges. The school also works with enterprises, such as building an undercover court to allow the children to play even during rainy weather. The roof of the undercover court is solar-powered and can store energy on sunny days, reflecting the values of green energy.
I am Sabrina Jian. My self-portrait captures the subject that appears devoid of any emotions, conveying a strong sense of individualism and a protective nature. It is often perceived as lonely. But it represents my most natural appearance, closer to my true self, with a gaze that carries an elusive and mysterious aura. The background features thin, deep purple lines drawn with coloured pencils, subtly drawing attention to the subject. Upon closer inspection, the checkered pattern on the subject’s clothing reveals my English name, Sabrina, symbolizing a sense of self-identity. Beneath the subject’s aloof expression lies intricate thoughts and the hidden strength that I possess. Take a look at the portrait, the two cats on both sides, which are among my favourite animals, serve as guardian spirits, providing protection, support, and guidance to overcome any setbacks in life.
Hello everyone, I am Justin Wang. My self-portrait is themed around demons. Why did I choose demons as the theme? Well, simply because I think it looks cool on the canvas!
I’m Iris. In my artwork, I incorporated one of my favorite animals, the wolf. The characteristics of wolves somewhat resemble my personality. I enjoy collaborating with others to accomplish things, just like how a wolf pack hunts by working together. That’s why I portrayed myself as a wolf. To add a touch of mythology, I included numerous star and moon patterns in the background, along with the prominent yellow moon. The wolf showcases many unique elements that I personally love, including my favourite shirt, a collar accessory I’ve always desired, and last but not least, the design on the pocket is a symbol that I created myself. It represents the “糸” character from my Chinese name.
My name is Yu Hsin Kao. The artwork you see before you is a self-portrait I drew when I was in the fifth grade. At that time, I had bangs. You might be wondering why only the flowers in the background, the eyes, and the mouth have vibrant colours in the entire composition? That’s because adding colour to the flowers helps accentuate the black-and-white portrayal of myself in the artwork. This allows viewers to differentiate between the portrait and the background. However, the eyes and mouth serve a purpose beyond differentiation. Humans need eyes to appreciate all the beautiful things in the world, and we need a mouth to express our thoughts and feelings to others. That’s why I specifically added beautiful colours to the eyes and mouth as well. I hope you all enjoy my artwork. Even if you don’t, that’s okay too! Because everyone has different preferences and you have your own choice!
My name is Oli Shen. The aesthetics of the artwork are all composed using line drawing techniques. The process was challenging and time-consuming because it required a lot of imagination to conceive each shape and line. If I couldn’t think of what to draw at the moment, I would observe things around me. For example, the dolphin shape came to me after looking at a sports drink bottle on the table and having a sudden inspiration. And the skull shape came about because of a conversation with my classmates during break time; we talked about skulls, and I thought, “Why not include it?” Looking back, this self-portrait holds many memories, and I believe I will feel nostalgic when I look at it in the future, reminiscing about the process of creating it.
I am Leighanne Su. My clothing has one side that is composed of many circles and lines, with the lines winding around the circles, creating a sense of continuous flow. Next is my hair in the drawing, which is formed by drawing block-like patterns with individual lines, making it difficult to distinguish from the clothing. It takes a careful observer to notice it. Finally, there’s my mask. I believe that line drawings don’t necessarily have to be made with lines, so I used squares instead.
My name is Amy Chen. The lines depicted in this painting are mainly composed of flowers and vines because I have a great fondness for the vibrant colours of flowers and the lushness of vines. There are hidden words in this artwork too! The purpose is to add an element of delight and playfulness for viewers of this self-portrait, in addition to appreciating it from an artistic perspective!
I’m Janet Chiang. My self-portrait adopts a comic style, with the addition of cute little patterns like lines, dots, and small circles. If you look closely, there are some small details hidden within my face. Did you notice them? It is the earring accessory hanging from my ear, which displays my English name.
I’m Carol Tai! When we were drawing our self-portraits, each of us was looking at ourselves in the mirror. Our teacher guided us during the creative process and suggested that we could incorporate imagination or small doodles into the artwork. It didn’t have to be an exact likeness of ourselves; we could draw ourselves as animals or anime characters, for example. After sketching the outline, we could add elements like dots, lines, and shapes to enrich the composition. Even the hair and facial features could be adorned with lines and patterns. I found this approach to be very creative and it allowed for a personal style. The final result was truly unique, and I’m really happy and satisfied with it.
I’m Chloe Chen. Throughout the creative process, I constantly pondered what lines and patterns to use in portraying the subject. Sometimes, I would even spontaneously change the drawn patterns or lines based on my evolving ideas. I find this process of change quite intriguing. I added a painter’s hat on my head to highlight the feeling of being a young artist. I’m curious to know what everyone thinks about it. I hope you all can appreciate the details in the artwork carefully!
My name is Vic Su. In this self-portrait, I chose a fun and cute approach. At the time, we were in the middle of the pandemic, so we were required to wear masks in class. That’s why you can see me wearing a mask in the artwork. However, I intentionally added a mouth shape as a pattern on the mask as I wanted to make the composition fun and cute.. Some viewers, though, mistook the pattern near my mouth as a big patch of stubble. I wonder what you think it is after seeing my artwork?
My name is Shirley Yang. This self-portrait has a touch of a dark aesthetic, which is evident in the artwork. For example, I depicted dark makeup around the eyes and incorporated asymmetrical, exaggerated, and peculiar patterns in the background and clothing. But I didn’t want the style to be overly harsh, so I intentionally drew many cute little animals on the mask. Why is there a mask on the face? It’s because of the global pandemic, where we were required to wear masks during classes. So I portrayed myself wearing a mask based on how I looked at that time. I also hid my signature on the clothing!
My name is Charles Hsiao. I decided to depict myself in an abstract (something transformative) or semi-subjective way. It is because I wanted to draw a version of myself that is not exactly how I look in real life. Those adorable little animals and food in the background are from my imagination. I wanted to present a consistent style.
I’m Anna Su. This is a line drawing self-portrait artwork. In my work, I’ve hidden many details, including my English name, “Anna.” You can try to find it! Since the artwork requires drawing numerous details and expressing them through lines, it was necessary to be very careful and meticulous to showcase the skills we’ve learned. For colour, I used coloured pencils as the medium to create a contrast effect with the black and white subject.
My name is Andy Chang. First, I divided the canvas into separate sections, and within each section, I designed a unique pattern. If you look closely at the entire artwork, you’ll discover many different shapes hidden within it. It took me about a month to complete this piece! I put a lot of care into creating it. I personally really like it. I hope that everyone else will enjoy it too.
My name is Eric Lin and my nickname is “kidney dialysis” because the pronunciation of the character “sheng” in my Chinese name is similar to that of “kidney” in Mandarin. I used the technique of line drawing to depict my artwork, and I spent a lot of time carefully outlining various dots, lines, shapes, and small figures hidden within the piece. In addition, I portrayed the leaf patterns in the background with a gradient of colour changes, so as to capture the sensation of falling leaves. Here’s a hint: I have added some easter eggs along with the main subject. Let’s see if you can find them or not. Come check it out, and good luck finding them!
I’m Emma Tsai. In my self-portrait, I depicted the subject by using simple and basic lines. To make sure the subject stands, I decided to outline it with thicker lines. I used more intricate and fancy lines to embellish the background. Finally, I added a thin layer of deep blue colour with coloured pencils. Oh, and I wonder if anyone noticed that there’s a corner in the artwork where my English name is concealed? Feel free to open your eyes wide and see if you can find where my English name is located!
My name is Peggy Hu. The artwork you’re currently seeing is a piece I drew in fifth grade. Back then, I had long hair, but now I have a slightly shorter hairstyle. So the depiction in the artwork is different from my current appearance. Our teacher encouraged us to freely use lines and patterns to construct the subject’s image, and I found it very interesting. Especially when contemplating what lines and shapes to add, that was doubly exciting. Sometimes, the result would turn out different from what I initially envisioned, which added a sense of delight and surprise to the creative process.
I am Mina Tuan. There are three specific aspects in this self-portrait that I would like to share with everyone. Firstly, I created this artwork during the COVID-19 pandemic, so I included a “face mask” in the painting. Secondly, I have long hair and often tie it in a ponytail, so I also drew a ponytail in my self-portrait. Thirdly, the clothing in the self-portrait represents my school uniform. Finally, for the background, I designed rose patterns, bubble motifs, and other linear patterns to present my self-portrait.
I am Chelsea Chen. The figure in the painting is a depiction of myself looking at my reflection in the mirror. I first sketched the outline of my appearance with a pencil, stroke by stroke. Then, I gradually extended it to capture the details of my hair, clothing, facial features, and the background patterns. Once all the outlines were completed, I used various thicknesses of black pens, including a drafting pen and a fine-tipped pen, to create the linework.
I am Joanne Su. I carefully looked at my face in the mirror for about five minutes. Then, I took a pencil and sketched out my face shape, hairstyle, and facial features, making sure they were accurate. After that, I used a black-coloured pen to outline my appearance, facial features, and hairstyle. Finally, I used the line drawing techniques I learned, including dots, lines, and various patterns, to create the desired effect. As for the background, I added beautiful colours after completing all the line drawings.
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TAIWANfest Vancouver is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.