Picturing Children and Youth: A Canadian Perspective examines pictures, artefacts, and the spaces and places of the young person. A key focus is the imagery created by artists practicing in all forms of media, ranging from painting and drawing to photography and film.
The website is the product of two undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, offered in the Fall term, 2010: Picturing Children taught by Loren Lerner, professor, Art History, and Boy/Girl Culture, taught by Marisa Portolese, professor, Photography. Our hope is that this website will encourage further critical analyses and creative activity relating to children and youth. Two premises guided this study and creative production of images. The first holds that the concept of youth is a historically changeable social construction that can inform our learning about actual children. The second is not to interpret these representations simply as illustrations of a verifiable external reality. Making images presupposes the visual inventiveness that characterizes the agency of the creator. This website is organized into three sections based on the student assignments:
Two to three Art History students worked together to conceptualize virtual exhibitions that connect to the essays in Depicting Canada’s Children edited by Loren Lerner(Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010). Some of the questions and concerns addressed are how childhood is perceived, remembered and imagined by Canadian artists; the assumptions that images of children and youth call into question; and the ways that schooling, immigration, urbanization, sickness and health, consumerism, the media and peer group pressures contribute to the concept of childhood.
Each Art History student developed a Canadian topic of her/his own choosing. These essays consider the diverse social, cultural and historic contexts of particular images, the various ways Canadian artists have chosen to visualize children and youth, and the effects of such explorations on the viewer.
The Art History students were paired with artists in the Boy/Girl Culture photography course. They interviewed the artists and wrote catalogue entries that introduce these artists and consider one of their works.