When Dr. Avis Proctor selected two recipients for this year’s President’s Art Selection Award, she didn’t expect the students of Harper College to end up sharing such a deep connection.
Stella Gurevich, a Promise scholar who graduated from Buffalo Grove High School, and Anhelina Karashevska, who immigrated to the United States a few years ago, first met at a recent gathering to recognize students and install their works in front of Dr. Proctor’s office. .
Stella and Anhelina quickly discovered their common Ukrainian heritage and began to connect over their common language, customs, and even visits to the same Ukrainian festivals.
“This connection was unknown to me,” Dr. Proctor said. “The timing of this art selection, given all that we’re seeing around the world – it’s no coincidence that you two are here.”
The President’s Art Selection Award has become a tradition at Harper, beginning in 2015, under the leadership of Dr. Ken Ender. Stella and Anhelina will lend their pieces to the president’s office for a year in exchange for a stipend.
Stella’s piece, “Merging Static”, is described as ink on board with photocopies. She said she’s always been fascinated by art that distorts reality because it’s a way of showing how the soul sees as opposed to the eyes. She was inspired by psychedelic art and listened to the music of the genre while creating.
Stella plans to transfer to Northern Illinois University and earn a degree in illustration. She is currently working as a freelance digital artist and is part of Harper’s first digital art and animation course.
“Art is definitely a way to bring people together around a common topic,” Stella said. “I believe it’s a global language.”
The title of Anhelina’s work, “Dusha”, means soul in Ukrainian. The piece, also in ink on board with photocopies, is inspired by the law of balance, she said, with one part showing the “right” choices in a supposedly perfect world and the other side showing the opposite.
The freshman hopes to eventually transfer to DePaul University and one day open her own business.
“Art is a way for me to show myself to people, and it makes me happy if someone can see a part of themselves in my work,” Anhelina said. “It means something to me.”
As Dr. Proctor and the students spoke, Professor Jason Peot arranged the pieces side by side and pondered the progress of the President’s Art Selection Award.
“We’ve had installation, ceramics, charcoal and now these ink bits, so there’s been really great representation over the years,” he said.