Students paint for Cirque

A talented group of students from Penticton Secondary School will have their art showcased at Cirque de Soleil's Varekai show in May. 

"The word Varekai means 'wherever' in the Romany language of the gypsies, the universal wanderers," reads the Cirque de Soleil website. "This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai."

The group of about 20 Pen-Hi students was given the chance to recreate a character and costume in watercolour paint and to have their work shown in public. 

"We have an annual spring show at the Penticton Art Gallery, but we've never done anything having to do with marketing or such a big, internationally known show like Cirque de Soleil," said Shauna Reid, studio arts teacher at the school. "It's so bright, colourful and whimsical, they were perfect subjects for a water colour unit."

Reid said the project allowed the kids to learn about several angles of the art business.

"The kids learned a lot about marketing a show and framing your work and all the organization it takes to have your work out in the community," she said. 

Student Madeline Wilson said she was attracted to the fabric in her character's costume.

"I really liked the layering of the fabric, it was a challenge, so it was kind of exciting to do it," she said. "There were a couple different shots of her full costume, but it was just her collar that had that fabric, so I got a close up and went from there."

"I usually veer away from faces, I'm not the best at portraits, so I thought I would give it a shot."

For Mishayla Paulson, it was the performer's face that drew her in. 

"I really like the eye makeup. It's really well done, and his costume really works with it," Paulson said. "And he has great cheekbones, so I said, 'yea, lets do it.'"

Paulson said the paintings took about two weeks to complete.

Both girls hope to attend the show when it comes to town. 

The public can view their works at Cherry Lane mall May 3 to 11. Then from May 13 to 17, their art will be displayed at the South Okanagan Events Centre for the duration of the show. 


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