“Do you have rituals around creating your art? Do you use your art to reflect on your rituals? How did you learn to perform your rituals? Were they sold to you? Were they expected of you? Were they your rebellion? What does it feel like to perform – or watch – a ritual?,” the Balcony Gallery asked Claremont students on their Facebook page in preparation for the upcoming art show, “RITUAL.”
On Friday, Oct. 20, the student organization, which is dedicated to connecting student artists and showcasing their work, will present its first art exhibition of the year. Held in the Pomona College Studio Art Building from 8 to 10 p.m, “RITUAL” will be showcasing submissions from 5C students, all sharing their own interpretations of the word “ritual.” Submissions include a wide range of mediums, including writing, dance, spoken word, 2-dimensional, videos, sculpture, and other forms of performance art.
“Many patterns of behavior are repetitive or hold valence, but not all fit the definition of a ritual,” Leyla Akay PO ‘18, the Balcony’s current president, wrote in an email to TSL. “We're interested in how people choose to define rituals for themselves, how rituals affect our lives, and what it feels like to witness a ritual being performed.”
“RITUAL” will include food, wine, and a DJ at the exhibition, for a unique ambience. “I was attracted to the idea of creating very temporary physical spaces – the shows only last one night – where the atmosphere is unlike anything else on campus,” wrote Akay.
The Balcony Gallery is one of the few places at the colleges to showcase art by non-majors, which provides an excellent platform for all types of students to exhibit their work, especially if they feel like their options are limited by their area of study.
“Our aim is not to choose what constitutes 'good' artwork but more to provide a platform for students to display their work to the community,” Akay wrote to TSL.
The Balcony began as the Pomona Student Art Gallery (POSA) and later grew to be a completely student-run 5C organization. Members of the organization put on exhibitions about six times per year, each centered around a common idea. Past shows have dealt with themes such as “Immersion,” “Tongues,” “America,” and “Mother.”
Board members discuss potential themes together before each show. “The beginning of a school year is a particularly transitional time period, and I think the idea of the 'rituals' one falls into when returning to [school] seemed very topical,” Akay wrote.
The Balcony’s next event is a show in late November, with the theme still to be announced. Akay disclosed a few hints about their upcoming plans: “There might be a very exciting collaboration in the works with a remarkable contemporary artist. Second hint: geocaching could be involved.”
“RITUAL” is the first show the Balcony will hold in Pomona’s Studio Art Building, Akay said. They are interested to see how that space impacts the show’s atmosphere. Many pieces for this show will be from first- and second-years, and new members have recently joined the Balcony board as well. “The energy all around is really high,” wrote Akay, who is excited about the new faces contributing to the organization.
We all have rituals, and it’s invaluable to recognize which ones we share with others that unite us, and which ones are completely our own. If you’re curious about people's rituals – and interested in re-examining your own – you can't miss “RITUAL.”