Student art reflects stages and possibilities of university journeys

Three people facing away from the camera looking at a piece of artwork

McMaster student Camryn Hardaker-Schabauer reveals the artwork they created that is now hanging in the Student Success Centre to their mother and grandmother (Image by Abdo Habbani/McMaster University).

Camryn Hardaker-Schabauer hopes students at McMaster will see themselves in a new on-campus art installation — no matter what stage of their journey they are at.  

The fourth-year Studio Art Bachelor of Fine Arts student recently completed a piece of artwork made up of six Medieval banner-inspired panels now hanging inside the Student Success Centre.  

The panels, painted in a geometric impressionistic style meant to be viewed at a distance, depict scenes of university life from connection points on campus to study areas to the convocation stage. The scenes were inspired by a focus group discussion with students connected to the Student Success Centre’s services and programs. 

“I hope that students are able to place themselves within these banners and kind of see a pathway for them throughout McMaster and be able to visualize the stepping stones that come with being not only a university student, but also a growing individual,” says Hardaker-Schabauer.  

The piece came about through a collaboration between Student Success Centre and School of the Arts staff. After a call for artists, Hardaker-Schabauer was selected.  

“We work with students, staff, faculty, alumni and community partners to impact the student experience. Part of this project was bringing this work to life in our physical space so that anyone coming to the Student Success Centre could see themselves reflected in the student journey,” says Arlene Fajutrao Dosen, Executive Director and Assistant Dean, Student Success. 

“Camryn’s care in capturing our collective impact shows in the final piece. We welcome students and our community to come by our space to share how the piece resonates with their own journey at McMaster.” 

Hardaker-Schabauer hopes the panels connect with all students and convey the fact that everyone’s university journey is unique.   

“Nothing has to be concrete and that graduation deadline doesn’t mean that your time here at McMaster ends,” says Hardaker-Schabauer. “You can really do whatever you need. And this [artwork] is just a little sample of what you can do.” 

Learn more below as Hardaker-Schabauer reflects on the meaning behind the piece and reveals the installation to some of their loved ones.  

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