Artist in the Spotlight: Erika Back

This week I’d like to put artist, Erika Back in the Long River Review spotlight. Erika is a senior Design major here at UConn, currently working on her senior project. I had the privilege of seeing her work a few weeks ago when the editors of the Long River Review met with art students from the senior year Design Course.

While studying art at UConn, Erika has taken a particular interest in conceptual art. She values an artist’s ability to create his or her own artistic interpretation of an abstract idea, and this fascination has influenced Erika’s senior project. Erika links conceptual art forms to education reform, and her artwork reflects the idea that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to education. She believes that our current education system denies students the opportunity to discover their innate gifts and perspectives on the world. Instead, students are taught one answer to problems and forget how to look for new solutions. Erika’s project finds a way to re-introduce creative and lateral thinking, and a real passion for learning.

Erika is originally from Toronto, Ontario in Canada, but has spent most of her life in North Haven, CT. She has gone through several types of education systems, both traditional and non-traditional. When Erika was enrolled in a non-traditional education program, she was given the opportunity to explore and research topics of her own choice. Erika studied at an art school in London last winter, and noticed that the way projects were presented in the classroom was similar to her non-traditional elementary school education. She started to think that if she had not switched to the traditional education system, she would have been much further in her own education. Non-traditional education systems allowed Erika to pursue her own interests, instead of being told what subjects to learn. Her senior project focuses on the experiences she has had in the classroom, and the need for students to play and explore in order to discover their full academic potential. The experiences Erika has had in multiple education systems, and her own interest in how people learn and think, has inspired her senior project.

Check out some work from her senior project!

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