The latest exhibition at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) showcases the works of two artists: Michel de Broin and Sohelia Esfahani.

Upon entering the main gallery of UWAG, there lies Blowback and Overpower by de Broin. Blowback is a steel sculpture of two connected M2A1 Howitzers (an artillery part), while Overpower is a steel figurine of a knight and a broken light bulb with 10,000 volts passing through one to the other.

Blowback by Michel de Broin. Photo taken by Ju Hyun Kim

According to de Broin, the connection between these two Howitzers represents a sabotage.

“The way I address objects is to destroy their signification, and in this case, cannons are antagonists, they want to destroy each other. By connecting them together … instead of destroying each other, they start to love each other, as love is about connection,” de Broin said. “The idea was to take this subject that has this direct, destructive attitude and bring it into this beautiful art that brings the two cannons together.”

Overpower by Michel de Broin. Photo taken by Ju Hyun Kim

Overpower also connects two opposites with a 10,000 volt spark as “the knight is from the Middle Ages so it’s more about fate and belief, and the light bulb is more about reason, the rationality,” de Broin described.

Found in the second gallery, The Immigrants is a collection of blue and white porcelain birds displayed in a circle. The artwork evokes the movement of culture by immigrants and tourists through these handmade birds, some of which were collected from Esfahani’s travels.

The Immigrants by Sohelia Esfahani. Photo taken by Ju Hyun Kim.

“For this particular piece, I’m looking at an everyday object—a collectable bird,” Esfahani said. “If you’re an immigrant, you tend to bring an object with you that reminds you of that first culture, or if you’re a tourist and if you visit a place, you tend to buy an object that has a cultural design or ornamentation and you bring it back as a reminder.”

When making this piece, Esfahani found approaching the concept the hardest, but once she has the concept, the fun of building and collecting the birds starts.

The Immigrants by Sohelia Esfahani. Photo taken by Ju Hyun Kim.

“When I travel or when I go to a flea market, I’m looking for these blue and white birds that I’m buying and collecting,” Esfahani said. “I’m acting as the person I’m talking about, either bringing it from my original culture or collecting it while I’m travelling.”

Both Esfahani and de Broin advise students who are interested in becoming an artist to “go for it” and not be afraid of mistakes.

“‘Til you make it, you don’t know if it’s working or not,” Esfahani said.

The exhibition will run until Dec. 16 and can be found at East Campus Hall.

From left to right: Sohelia Esfahani, UWAG curator Ivan Jurakic, and Michel de Broin. Photo taken by Ju Hyun Kim.

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