Technology and modern urban living gives us a false autonomy, a sense that we are in control, that we are invincible. So what do Mountains tell us about ourselves? How do they put us in our place?
But more than that, how do Mountains help us cultivate a sense of wonder, of awe? How does the size of a mountain, give us a perspective, especially as a young person, characterized by a Wonder that leads to learning, empathy, engagement with life?
From July 1-14, 2018, five high-school students, six young professional artists, and three mentors, exploredthe question: “What does the mountain tell us about ourselves and about what it means to be human?”in the Summer School at Woodstock 2018 Art for Change Residency, organized by Woodstock School’s Center for Imagination and the Art for Change Foundation.
The residency kicked off with a climb up Top Tibba, the highest mountain close to Mussoorie, a collective experience of swirling mists, gentle rain, losing our way, discovering a huge frog, bouts of fear and fatigue, and massive vistas suddenly opening up before us. That experience formed the basis for daily ‘chai-time’ discussions on mystery, discovery, gratitude, fragility, resilience, and the relationship between wonder and transcendence, wonder and learning, wonder and empathy.
In the studio we worked our individual responses into our art, continuing to learn from each other through shared working spaces and morning presentations on our journeys as artists. We listened to the mountain, we listened to each other, and the result of two weeks of early mornings and late nights creating together was a body of art exhibited at Woodstock School’s Lyons Lounge from July 13-27, 2018.
The purpose of the Summer at Woodstock Art for Change Residency is to give high-school art students an experience of the professional art world alongside artists just a few years on the other side of art school, while giving young professional artists the opportunity to create in the mountains.