Since March 2020, students around the world have experienced an especially unique academic experience; the COVID-19 pandemic shook things up and forced teachers and students alike to adapt in unexpected ways. KCD alumna, Amani Ikram ’21, expressed her feelings and takeaways from the pandemic that affected her junior and senior years through her favorite pastime—art. Her ceramic sculpture, Scribbling, is now hanging in KCD’s Upper School student lounge. This piece is showcased not only as a celebration of our students’ creativity, but also a reminder of the importance of community at KCD.
Where did the title of the piece come from?
The title I came up with is called Scribbling. It came from the creation process. When I was working on this piece with Mr. Biddle [Marko Biddle, visual arts teacher], we needed a term to refer to each individual shape. We started calling them scribbles because one of his middle school students in his ceramic class asked, “What are all of these scribbles doing around here?” because I had them laid out all over the place.
What was your inspiration behind the piece? What does it mean to you?
When you think of scribbling, you may think of random colors or random shapes. They don’t make a lot of sense, but sometimes they can produce something really cool or interesting to look at. Movement is one of my favorite things to see in art, so when I was going into this process, I didn’t know what I’d be making or what it would look like. Originally when I started my independent study in ceramics, I showed Mr. Biddle a picture of a vase that looked abstract, so he quickly realized I liked movement in art. When people look at this piece I hope they can appreciate it and interpret it in different ways. Viewers like to look at how the pieces lock; we specifically made a lot of “S” shapes so that the pieces can connect to each other. Maybe that can remind us that one of the best things about a student body or larger community is the support it can give us. And during confusing and chaotic times like the pandemic, I couldn’t have gotten [this piece] completed and displayed without my friends, faculty, or family.
The title Scribbling invokes a state of randomness or even chaos. The process was quite a journey, from figuring out what it meant to me, what it would be like in the end, the installation process of adapting and playing it by ear; it reminded me a lot of our situation dealing with COVID—improvising.
What was the process of selecting and approving the location for the art piece?
It was quite a long process figuring out how and where to hang the artwork! First, we had to test out how much the piece could even support its own weight. We did this by taking one “S” shape and hanging a bunch of weights on it until it shattered. So the breaking point, which was somewhere around 100 pounds per piece, gave us a sense of how heavy each chain could be. My original plan was to have the chains dangling from 2 steel rectangles, to create some sort of chandelier to hang from the ceiling in the senior lounge.
There were some liability concerns surrounding an overhead piece, so I actually contacted some museum curators to get their input on how I could install it safely. The administration suggested encasing the chandelier in some sort of plastic frame to catch the shapes if they were to fall, but I felt like a plastic safety feature would take away from the beauty of it all. So, we ultimately decided it should hang as a wall-art piece, with some sort of shelf installed below to catch any potential falls. We looked at walls all over the Upper School, but my preference was to have it hung somewhere high up with light coming in from a window. Finally, we landed on a wall in the senior lounge, which is kind of perfect because that room is where I wanted it to go anyway! Making the art piece was the highlight of my senior year, and since the creation process took a lot of improvisation and adapting—which were skills my senior class especially experienced last year amid the pandemic—it felt right putting it there.
What’s after KCD?
I will be attending University of Louisville and studying Neuroscience and continuing a pre-med track. I hope to pick up Spanish as a minor and hopefully more electives so I can do more things like this—art.