Pop-Up Art Gallery

Georgetown Days Magzine Fall 2023 cover
Georgetown Days Magzine Fall 2023 cover, Giving Back
Pop-Up Art Gallery
Dina ElBohgdady

UPPER-LEVEL MASTER STUDIO art students displayed some of their pieces in an impromptu pop-up art show in the High School’s third-floor gallery just before Thanksgiving. Michelle Cobb, HS studio arts department chair, said she gave the students a lot of freedom to experiment with the themes of “self-portraiture” or “invisible.” Once Michelle saw the results, she made a decision to display the pieces. “I felt the work was so outstanding that I wanted to share it with the School,” she said.

Here is what the students had to say about their pieces:

Ava Blum ՚23

This oil-on-cardboard painting captures my relationship with painting and acting, my two favorite vehicles for self-expression. I’ve always drawn from my inner self to become each of the diverse characters I’ve played, all of them versions of me on the stage of my life. I sit on the edge of the stage reflecting, not acting, but my position references my National Shakespeare Competition performance, where I sat as if in an intimate conversation with the audience. There, I understood for the first time that performance is about connecting people through shared experiences. The pattern on the stage floor resembles a chessboard because the various roles I’ve played feel like chess pieces. I’m not sure what my next move will be, but I’m enjoying the game.




Zaira Chowdhury ʼ23


I experimented with how I could use a portrait of my face as a design element to bring attention to a deeper exploration of losing yourself/insecurities. I wanted to push my own artistic boundaries by using photos in a way I had not before and by making sure that my message was still visible. I incorporated rhythm by manipulating my face to add a flowing effect, repetition by including the same face multiple times, and contrast to highlight the drama of the piece as someone who has always turned the camera away from myself. 



Avery Ludlow ’24  


This piece is based on a photo that I replicated using repetitive lines to create an optical illusion. I used lines with different thicknesses and lengths for the shadows and left some sections blank for the brightest highlights. In effect, the shapes and objects in the piece are difficult to discern from a distance and come into focus when seen up close. 




Ally Brangham ՚23


This piece is all about what shapes my identity. In the background are letters I've collected my whole life. They symbolize the influence of letters, stories, and memories in general. Then I used a portrait of a distant ancestor in the corner to build a connection to family and a contrast between her portrait and mine.





Anna Ford ՚24



This gouache painting represents the path between life and death and humans’ connection to the natural world. This piece depicts a woman traveling through a towering forest, slowly disappearing until she is one with nature. I want to explore death as a natural part of life, instead of defining it as a solemn and taboo idea. We are all a part of nature, and simply take on a different form once we've passed. I want this piece to be a reminder that even once physical bodies are gone, our loved ones are still a part of this world. The scale of the trees compared to the figure shows how small humans are compared to the rest of the natural world. However, that is not to say that we are insignificant. The detailed elements in leaves and brush show that we are one part of a beautifully intricate system.


Edie Carey ՚ 23

The “invisible” prompt got me thinking about how x-rays and other medical diagrams seek to create more understanding of the human body, but often end up dehumanizing their subjects. I took photographs of a skeleton model from the science office, a skull, and myself. I also got a copy of my mother’s retina scan, which she gets regularly because of a chronic illness that can affect her eyes. I used cyanotype chemicals to print the retina and the skull onto paper through exposure to UV light and sewed them onto cotton muslin. I also printed images onto transparency paper and sewed them. I used my home printer to print directly onto fabric. Red embroidery thread connects each image to another.


Emery Jackson ՚23


This piece is based on the “invisible” prompt. I started with a side profile image of myself and then filled it in with aspects of my identity. I added art supplies, the metro (which I ride almost every day), the city I live in, and the sports that I play/have played. But I also included some lesser-known facts about myself, such as my allergies in the form of the trees that make up my hair and the pollen hanging on the grass that makes up the hair in between the braids. I added in my favorite season, fruits, flowers, smells, food, and other small details that make up who I am.

Gabi Swamy ՚23


This piece depicts me in a heart, holding my hand. I worked on this painting this year during art class when we were asked to make self-portraits. I took inspiration from Frida Kahlo's self-portraits and continued to explore my love for incorporating anatomy into my art.






Maya Raman ՚23

This mixed-media piece, which draws on my South Asian heritage, offers a historical look into a caste system that rendered some people invisible. I show how the various castes would have been represented at the time in photographs. The center portrait of a rich, well-dressed family underneath a golden arch is surrounded by the off-center, boxed-in figures of lower caste people, usually servants to the rich. The wood sticks boxing them create the sense that they are invisible. Throughout the piece, I used different stencils and cutouts to resemble rangoli, the sand designs traditionally made on Hindu holidays, and cut-out traditional patterns. The red spray paint accents represent the havoc wreaked on people by the caste system.

Mia Chevere ՚23


The Jester is a piece that relates identity to performance. As a multicultural child, I have often felt caught between the barrios of my island and the modern cities of the United States. The jester struggles to stay balanced on the tightrope between these two worlds in a Bosch-inspired landscape with disproportionately large circus paraphernalia.





Nava Mach ՚23


My self-portrait focuses on my grandmother, or Nana, Louise, who passed away when I was nine. In the center is a younger version of myself sipping Nana’s homemade matzo ball soup. The bowl and spoon symbolize her passion for collecting. Perched on my head is an owl, her favorite animal and a motif of her wisdom. The thimble on the owl’s head is a nod to her extensive thimble collection and her fiber arts talent. The yarn woven into my hair represents how she is connected to every aspect of me. The steam from the bowl becomes a majestic pink ribbon to acknowledge her fight with breast cancer. Family photos provide more context for who she was. This piece was given to her husband, my grandpa, to aid his transition to an assisted living facility. 


Robert Koukios ՚24


For this piece, I wanted to use an unusual perspective to illustrate the idea of invisibility. In my freshman English class, we learned about being “in the zone,” which refers to the idea that once you get really into an activity, such as a basketball game or a performance like the one in this piece, you can enter a zone in which it is just you and the activity that you are doing. To attach this idea to invisibility, I have the audience begin to become more abstract, becoming invisible to the drummer as he enters the zone.


Sophie Wohlstadter ’23


I read articles that explained how octopi make shelters out of trash on the seafloor. While the litter provides them with shelter, it also harms them and stresses marine life in general. The octopus depicted here is made out of felted wool, while the base is made of a combination of natural shells and synthetic styrofoam and plastic. These synthetic materials mimic the texture and position of the natural sea floor.