Vervina Henry: exploring art, culture and identity
Whilst investigating themes of art, culture and identity for her BA Fine Art, Vervina explored her own identity, history and cultural heritage through fine art media such as film, installation and performance.
Vervina had always been an aspiring and talented painter– an art form she still enjoys – but it was her time at Reading School of Art that helped her realise her potential for the more contemporary art forms. Through installation, performance and film work, Vervina was able to fully embrace her cultural background and she developed the theme of "identity", a theme which still greatly influences her work.
"Identity is now the focus of my practice. I enjoy looking at all the layers hidden inside a person - it is sometimes quite challenging to see a person without misjudging that person appearance wise."
Vervina is part-Japanese on her Father's side and refers to this aspect of her background as her "hidden identity". Through her work, Vervina has explored what her personality represents; its history and cultural heritage using herself as the subject of her enquiry.
"I am gaining a better understanding about my cultural background through Nági, an alter ego I have constructed that plays a prominent role in my work; as the subject she represents my feelings, emotions, and thoughts on my culture."
Her most recent work, an interactive-video performance and installation titled Colourful Layers, builds on relations to other individual's awareness of their own identity and makes them think how other people may judge them, and how they may judge others. Vervina's work progresses to display the different layers of that individual's identity and how it unravels through different circumstances, such as hobbies or social events.
Vervina credits her time at Reading School of Art as being the driving factor behind finding the confidence to experiment with contemporary art media - a bold step away from the favoured painting style she began her degree with.
"My time at Reading has helped to develop me into an artist that is confident to explore other media: film, photography, performance and to combine them all, layer them together and see what the results are."
Since graduating, Vervina has continued to explore her theme of culture and identity and has plans to take her skills to the theatre, designing props, sets and stages for performances.
"The support I have received from staff has helped me a lot. It boosted my confidence and encouraged me to do more research into how artists represent themselves. I want to represent myself in my own way, my own style, and to continue with the theme of identity. And, just be me."
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