NAHS Spirituality Projects

Sophia Scott '21, Arts & Entertainment Section Editor

Gail Garner Roski, an artist and Philanthropist of the Roski School of Art & Design at USC, worked in tandem with Stephen Graham, an artist and the son of Robert Graham, a famous sculptor, to establish the yearly Robert Graham Memorial Art Exhibition at the Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. It occurs during quarter three of each school year, as a tribute to not only Robert Graham, but also to Visual Art and Catholicism. Annually, this exhibition invites an elite group of male and female students from sixteen private Catholic High Schools in the Greater Los Angeles area to participate in a showcase of artwork based on the concept of spirituality. A special Mass recognizes the efforts and talents of these young artists and also acknowledges their teachers, administrators, and parents. Furthermore, each student receives a certificate named in honor of Robert Graham and has the opportunity to take a photo with Stephen Graham, the son of Robert Graham, who designed the Los Angeles Cathedral’s Great Bronze Doors.

Each year, several Marymount students are selected to display their interpretations of spirituality at the prestigious Robert Graham Memorial Art Exhibition through a variety of artistic mediums such as photography, digital design, painting, drawing, and sculpting. Michelle Choi ‘21, Indigo Mapa ‘21, and Kendra Thornburgh-Mueller ‘20, members of the Marymount chapter of the NAHS shared their spirituality-focused art submissions below. Their art is accompanied by brief descriptions of their inspirations and explanations of the messages that they intended to convey through their work.

Courtesy of Michelle Choi ‘21

“Catharsis” by Michelle Choi ‘21

“In this artwork, I portrayed the importance of self-discovery and love. I drew a girl that is coming out from hiding behind her masks. The masks represent the judgment of others, a problem caused by being self-conscious. The wings in the artwork represent breaking free and learning the importance of loving yourself, beginning change. Like a butterfly, you evolve and change into a new version of yourself. The girl is slowly starting to learn to love herself and thus learning to further love others. The use of bright colors in this piece emphasizes the emotions that she is feeling, she is starting to see her world in a new light. Overall, the theme of my spirituality was love, especially loving oneself.”

“Constellations in the Mojave” by Indigo Mapa ‘21

Courtesy of Indigo Mapa ‘21

“For my spirituality project, I decided to submit a photo I took during a lantern festival in Las Vegas. The lantern festival is called “Rise” and takes place in multiple locations worldwide, but its most popular location is in the Mojave Desert in Nevada. On October 5th, I traveled to Las Vegas with my family and our close friends. When we arrived at the festival, we were given a mat, two lanterns, and a marker. We were to write or draw anything we desired on the lanterns then ignite the fuel cell so it could float up into the sky. On my lantern, I wrote a letter to someone out there that I am destined to know and spend my life with. The photo I took captured a moment during the festival that was extremely captivating to me. The lanterns in the sky resembled constellations and flooded the night sky above me, the people around me–including my family, friends, and strangers, were either watching the sky, dancing, or talking amongst themselves. Some people were even struggling to ignite their lantern. I thought the moment was purely ethereal because I felt so euphoric and in contact with myself and my inner thoughts and feelings. The festival was a spiritual experience and bond formed by thousands of strangers that all came to one place to do one thing: let go.”

“Calm in the Chaos” by Kendra Thornburgh-Mueller ‘20

Courtesy of Kendra Thornburgh-Mueller ‘20

“My concept stems from my understanding of metaphysicality as something that is revealed through the world’s beauty. I represented this beauty through using printmaking techniques to make my own pattern. This pattern represents the Augustinian concept of beauty, which emphasizes beauty being found in pattern and proportion. However, when taking a closer look at my piece, one realizes that I did not have a set pattern at all and the placement of the lilies is actually a bit random. This represents chaos. These two concepts, pattern and chaos, come together to signify what I think the ultimate role of spirituality is: it provides hope and peace in times of chaos. I also use the symbol of the lily to represent peace and purity, spiritual concepts, and somewhat abstract lines to symbolize crosses.”