Local artist wows with new gallery show

Centennial College student creates a 'visceral' experience at the Corridor Gallery

Liliana Vera’s interactive art exhibit will change and grow every day during its three-week life.

The artist, a student at Centennial College’s East York campus, says she will replace some works daily, and visitors can take some pieces home with them. The show, which she calls ‘Indelible’, is currently on display at the campus’s Corridor Arts Gallery.

At the exhibit’s opening on Feb. 2, Vera, 29, said she always tries to live in the present. Her art speaks to the impact a person can leave on a moment, a situation and another person, she added.

This is one of the most successful and ambitious exhibitions we have had.

—David McClyment

“(Indelible) means a mark that cannot be erased,” she explained. “All the feelings that I have from people — and thoughts — they are with me forever. Every moment you are here, you are indelible to it.”

Vera, whose home country is Mexico, is in her second year of the fine arts program at Centennial College. She says her background and family life influence her art.

“The pictures are personal — those are family photos,” she said. “Hopefully, someone can connect with those and see themselves reflected. These family experiences, and what it means to be Mexican — this is what I want to showcase in my art.”

David McClyment is the co-ordinator of the fine arts studio program at Centennial College. He says Vera’s exhibit is “more than just a row of paintings.”

“These are objects,” he said. “There are small Polaroids and a big charcoal drawing. It’s all lit by a neon sign.”

Liliana Vera’s hand-created ‘Indelible’ neon sign is featured prominently in the gallery.  (James Dalgarno)

The large, bright white neon sign bearing the show’s title, ‘Indelible,’ is the first thing visitors to the gallery see.

Vera describes her art as mixed media. She uses a variety of materials in each piece, including chalk, string, fabric and neon light.

She says she put the exhibit together in just one month.

“Some pieces were done in the moment,” Vera said. “But some I continue to go back to and make changes — still now.”

Liliana Vera shows off her neon artwork at her gallery opening event.  (James Dalgarno)

Vera doesn’t play favourites when it comes to her art. But she said one of her best pieces is a self-portrait. The portrait is simple — using blue and black ink and white paper, Vera draws herself, eyes covered, with a simple flower over her heart.

This portrait will be replaced with a new one each day the show runs.

A gallery visitor examines Liliana Vera’s self portrait.  (James Dalgarno)

McClyment says the exhibit is something that needs to be experienced.

“It’s a visceral thing,” he said. “From my point of view, this is one of the most successful and ambitious exhibitions we have had.”

Indelible runs at the Corridor Gallery until Feb. 18.

The Corridor Gallery is located on the second floor of Centennial College Story Arts Centre.