Junior Youth’s Perspective on Diversity

Good day!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a small art exhibit at a local library. I’d consider myself a pretty artsy person so any sort of visual experience I’m be invited to I’m likely to attend. But this particular one I felt compelled to go to. The art in the library was produced by students attending the local middle schools and high schools and the pieces were expressions of their ideas on diversity; as I’m currently involved with a junior youth group, I thought it would be beneficial to me in understanding my new friends.

I was blown away not only by the technical abilities of some of the artists, but also by the depth of ideas that were presented. Some common themes arose that made me think about common perceptions on what diversity is, and others made me think about more latent effects of our differences that we may not be conscious of.

Overall I thought it was such a great thing to be put on by the library, it empowered the junior youth (and youth) as creators in the community and also directed their artistic efforts towards meditation on a topic that effects everyone.

One of themes I saw was the use of flowers as a way of celebrating diversity. It reminds me of this quote

Ye are all fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch, the flowers of one garden.

And this one

Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and beautiful colour…It is just the diversity and variety that constitutes its charm; each flower, each tree, each fruit, beside being beautiful in itself, brings out by contrast the qualities of the others, and shows to advantage the special loveliness of each and all.

The use of color was also often a highlight to the beauty of diversity, especially contrasted with grayscale.

The exhibit also showed the rising awareness of diversity in gender expression beyond a dichotomy

The top two on the left show melded male and female symbols, the photo on the right shows how monstrous gender roles can feel. Gender equality is near and dear to my heart so these pieces really speak to me.

Here are a couple other pieces I was lucky enough to get pictures of. You can see a puzzle motif, and beautiful displays of diverse women .

I’m excited to see what’s next in the community and I’ve been inspired to do something with a similar impact myself. I hope to hear what sort of projects you are engaging in with your own community!

-A Half Hollow Reed