Published: April 30, 2018 By
Statue, indigo flowers outside the UMC

Launched in 2015, the UMC Student Arts Program showcases artwork by CU Boulder students. Artwork can be in any medium, such as photography, paintings, collages or sculpture. 

The UMC Student Arts Program is hosting an art walk for the new art pieces that have been added to the collection. The theme for this year’s program is Empower the Future, and students were asked to consider the theme in their creations. Graduate students and undergraduates in any major may enter their art.

The 11 pieces chosen this year are displayed throughout the UMC. The top three student winners will be announced Friday, May 4, during an event held in The Connection on the first floor of the UMC, 4 to 6 p.m. Judging is based on originality, theme, impact and craftsmanship.

Two of the participants talk about their art.

Serene Singh

Singh is a junior studying political science and journalism with a minor in leadership studies. Creating art is her passion and a way for her to express what’s on her mind by putting concepts and ideas into a visual context. This is her first submission in an art show. 

The title of her art piece is The Kaur Values of Freedom, Justice and Beauty. Kaur is her middle name and translates to “princess.” Her piece represents the ideals of bravery, equality and strength through the image of a Sikh woman wearing a turban.

To create the piece, Singh used pastels, watercolors, crayons, plus an unconventional medium. When she couldn’t get the color of the woman’s skin to her liking, she used her own makeup. As she was painting, Singh thought about the idea of religious freedom and tolerance, and the empowerment of women. 

The turban is controversial in America,” Singh said. “I want you to see a woman wearing a turban who’s representing herself proudly and not afraid to display her faith and define her worth in a society that not understand it. It’s not a self-portrait per se, but it’s how I want all women, including myself, to see themselves.”

She believes art can communicate and speak to people in a personalized way, and that art can challenge people to internally investigate their own thoughts without saying a word.

Singh is a member of numerous groups and organizations on campus, including the Boettcher Scholars, Presidents Leadership Class, Colorado Bhangra, Political Science Honor Society and University of Colorado Student Government, where she serves as chief justice of the CU Supreme Court. She won a prestigious Truman Scholarship, CU Boulder’s 11th recipient and first since 2014. 

As the current America’s Junior Miss and former Miss Colorado Teen titleholder, Singh started a nonprofit called The Serenity Project to empower at-risk and marginalized women to build confidence and self-esteem. She coaches the women participating in the project on speaking skills, confidence and self-esteem. She also coaches low-income students in speech and public speaking skills.

This summer, Singh will be interning for a number of organizations and will attend the Global Changemakers Summit in Switzerland. After graduating, she plans to attend law school with a goal of one day becoming a Supreme Court justice.

Lau Malaver

Malaver is finishing a master’s degree in education policy. Malaver’s art submission is a small abstract painting titled Something Gone and New. (Malaver prefers to use the gender-neutral plural pronouns they/their.)

Using oils and acrylics on canvas, Malaver was inspired to visually portray a transitional period that a close friend was undergoing. The piece features a human figure split in two, one half in white and the other in black.

I wanted to understand the dynamic of that person going through a transition related to gender and their partner,” Malaver said. “We are in a time when there are opportunities for some people to really feel like they can be themselves, whether that’s changing their name, getting married or changing their body. This is a fundamental time to take care of those around us who have identity struggles and find, by changing certain things about themselves, they can feel some peace.”

Wanting people to see the duality in the painting, Malaver wrote, “This piece lets a past desire reach the present that is no longer present but lives in the future. It is empowering to change our lives as the narratives around us incorrectly shape us.”

This is Malaver’s first submission in an art show. While Malaver uses art as a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings, their main conveyance is writing creative nonfiction and short stories. 

Malaver, who earned an undergraduate degree at CU Boulder, plans to stay at CU to get a doctorate in ethnic studies and then teach. 

“Art is a space for us to put all our feelings and thoughts on canvas,” Malaver said. “The creativity of expression has empowered me to do other things related to my identity of being Latina and gay, like getting scholarships. That involvement has allowed me to help others who are LGBTQ or persons of color.”