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Designing the History of Art Students' Association's Annual 2020-2021 Undergraduate Research Journal and Symposium. 

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As the returning 2020-2021 Creative Director for the History of Art Students' Association, it is my great pleasure to visualize the artistic image of this year's symposium and journal. Our theme - (Re)Connecting - seeks to reconcile the shifting realities that we currently live in. Many of us probably feel now, more than ever, the need for connection. A need to witness, feel, and understand the spaces within and between ourselves, others, and the world around us. Art is unique in its ability to foster and propagate connection despite limitations of space or time. Artists, artworks, material culture and museum/gallery spaces exist as spaces of connection, be it through individuals or collectives. This year’s theme invites exploration into the ways that art does not exist inside a vacuum. How do connections exist in the matrix of art, and how does art (re)connect us in the absence of connection?

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Since this is currently a work in progress, the creative process has begun with a generalized concept that will eventually develop into an open-access journal that will be available to download from the HASA website as a digital PDF. 

The whimsical imagery of "connection" and "reconnection" is largely inspired by the c. 1910 oil painting, La Danse (Dance), by Henri Matisse. This version is slightly different from the original linked dancers that are painted in the lively colours of Fauvism. Here, these sleek black figures move in a graceful circle yet, their arms are outstretched towards one another as if trying to touch their neighbour. Even with the centripetal force of the dance, their fingers are just out of reach. The tangled red string loops and spirals itself around their bodies in an attempt to close the gap, but it too is untethered – floating so tantalizingly close yet so far. 

How does art (re)connect us during this time of disconnection? We want to know your thoughts!

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To submit your essay or to learn more about the Undergraduate Research Journal, please visit the official History of Art History Students' Association website here. HASA publishes journals annually so be sure to follow their journey on social media!

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