Drawing Workshop With Edén Barrena

By Yinan DU

During the second weekend of the fall semester, DKU welcomed its first drawing workshop and it turned out to be a huge leap towards the growth of Arts and Humanities o n our campus. The Spanish visual artist Edén Barrena is invited to instruct this three-days’ drawing workshop. She is fully experienced in interpreting the world around us and able to transmit the message she perceived to the audiences through various media forms. This drawing workshop aimes to help students do their research profile by integrating the creative practice. Through working with Edén , students were given abundant chances to explore arts and themselves and they start to develope a new spectrum for communication: talking through arts.

The workshop was divided into three main parts: day one was a practice round where students were expected to draw portraits of their partners. This is not a traditional way of teaching: as Edén herself said, this workshop is designed to open up students’ eyesight into capturing the details in life which are easily ignored. By sitting down, holding up the pen, looking closely at what you are going to depict down, you get to realize drawing is not and never would be a mechanical process of imitating the object, but is a positive way of understanding the object. Drawing makes you feel as if you become a filter: you only see and feel the object in its purest form and let go of existing stereotypes or definitions of the object.

Day two had two parts. In part one Edén introduced four contemporary artists to further broadened students’ understanding. Inspired by the great artists, students started with their own project in the afternoon. As the time was approaching the Teacher’s Day, many students came up with the idea of doing an art work to thank their professors. Unlike the usual greeting letters, two students decided to document their memories of their professors’  details through drawing.

Day three was the final day and students were given time to prepare their independent projects and get ready for the presentation in the afternoon. Gradually students became familarized with the quiet and harmony environment to do their project. The silence in the room was actually filled with noise of buzzing creativity. If you had walked into the water pavilion that day, you would have found yourself interrupting a precious process of things undergoing evolution. Written across the students’ faces were the marks of deep concentration as their minds explored immense possibilities to communicate. Time came and went unnoticed, disappearing in a flash.

By the time of presentation, Edén and other students helped to set up three expedition stands where you put your project. It’s not like in many exhibitions where the artists’ works are kept in a distance between the audience: people have to first feel the physical distance between themselves and the arts in order for them to appreciate the creativity of the artists. What Edén tried to remind us when she decided to bring us close to the artwork and even suggested to have a close look, she was breaking down the invisible barriers people normally feel between themselves and arts. Closing the physical gap between the artwork and the audience challenged the traditional understanding of art as a sacred object that could never be criticized. Art is communication; art is interaction.