Diocesan News

Students’ Art Met with Approval

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UPPER EAST SIDE — Renoir, da Vinci, Gris, Degas … Yuricic, Carbonell, and Jurgens?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which features a collection that includes more than two million works of art spanning 5,000 years, now includes three Mary Louis Academy students’ artwork on display.

Seniors Mahalia Carbonell, Rebecca Jurgens, and Sabina Yuricic won Gold Key Awards in the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the United States.

“Thalassophobia” by Sabina Yuricic (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

As a result, their framed work now hangs alongside nearly 250 other works of art created by New York City teens.

This year, more than 2,500 students in grades 7-12 submitted nearly 10,000 works to the New York City Region of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, encompassing over 200 schools in the five boroughs.

More than 100 literary and visual arts professionals served as judges, selecting works based on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

TMLA Art Chairperson Jenny Durkin, who teaches the advanced placement studio art course, said she was “over the moon” upon hearing that some of her students were chosen from the pool of submissions.

The pieces by Yuricic, Carbonell, and Jurgens will be on view at The Met’s Fifth Avenue location until May 21.

Yuricic submitted two pieces to Scholastic — a self-portrait in colored pencil (which won honorable mention) and “Thalassophobia” (a reflective piece that was chosen to be in The Met).

“Thalassophobia” — also known as the fear of the ocean — was created with colored pencils and watercolor and was partially inspired by a lyric in My Chemical Romance’s “Skylines and Turnstiles.”

“The original line was ‘Our memories blanket us with friends we know, like fallout vapors,’ ” Yuricic explained. “I misheard ‘fallout vapors’ as ‘fallen papers’ the first time I heard the song, so I decided to roll with it. I found myself with a remarkably strong mental image that made its way out of my head and onto paper.”

“Imposter Syndrome” by Mahalia Carbonell (Photo: Courtesy of Mahalia Carbonell)

“My heart did a somersault and I am still completely in shock that any of this happened,” said Yuricic, who will be attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan this fall. “It truly was a passion project, so I am ecstatic to see it reach so many people.”

Carbonell submitted three gouaches (escapist paintings) including “Imposter Syndrome” which is currently hanging on The Met’s walls. She said the piece was a “trivial all-nighter” and that it — along with the other artwork — touched upon how delusion “makes a fool of the mind and, consequently, strips away our sanity.”

“The era of quarantine and remote-learning isolation put many other students and me in this frenzy of denial,” said Carbonell, who hopes to pursue film in college. “I felt the need to translate the progression on paper.”

Rebecca Jurgens, who received an honorable mention from Scholastic two years ago, found inspiration from the early months of the pandemic.

Her colored-pencil self-portrait titled “Me and My Mask” was drawn last spring.

“Me and My Mask” by Rebecca Jurgens (Photo: Courtesy of The Mary Louis Academy)

“It was the only mask that I had, and I figured that it would be very timely and interesting to include this as part of my concentration,” Jurgens said. “It will be so strange to look back a few years from now and realize that myself, and many others, were alive to see and experience a pandemic.”

Jurgens added that it was a pinch-worthy moment to visit the museum this month.

“When I saw my art at The Met, I felt I was unworthy of such a great honor,” she said. “It’s a moment that I will never forget [because] The Met is my favorite museum.”