I spoke to recent high school grad, Aolani Tagle, as she prepared a back house for her fall semester at UTSA where she studies Studio Art. Her artistic journey began by exploring written poetry and movement based work and has organically evolved to encompass many forms of visual art in collage and digital media. She will be working with 3D mediums this semester and aims to depart from realism and enter a whole new layered vision.
She graduated from the International School of The Americas and was a student with SAY SI for almost 7 years; 3 years exploring WAM (WORKING ARTISTS & MENTORS MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM) and 4 years concentrating in the Teatro ALAS studio.
SaySi has provided her background in those programs for us here:
“Lani’s time at SAY Sí has exposed her to the value of taking up space. A once-shy middle schooler with stage fright has blossomed into a Liaison and Mentor who freely explores her passions. Lani’s highlight of her time at SAY Sí was Napako, a movement based show inspired by the Lower Pecos River Valley Rock art that depicted an origin story of our ancestors, a map of South Texas, a timeline of the stars that repeats every 4,295 years, and the colonization of the San Antonio missions. This show has inspired Lani to embrace her own roots and develop the personal essential question: “What does it mean to be human?”
She describes her 2020 graduation as a, “super odd feeling-like mourning what could have been.” As the fall semester kicks off, she is looking forward to working with new materials and integrating more “wacky” elements into her own artistic palette.
The cover art piece, called ‘Summer of Love ‘19’ , is the product of a whole semester’s dedication to a project for SaySi’s senior thesis virtual exhibition, Fragments (On view now at https://hive.saysi.org/2020/seniors/ ).
After 4 years in SaySi’s theatre program, Tagle had originally planned a performance piece for the exhibition and decided on a zine format abruptly. The collection of collages and poetry are called ‘Safe Places To Keep Your Heart’.
“I didn’t know what to do, or how I wanted the zine to look, but I knew what I wanted to say: Vulnerability, to be normalized.”
She describes her upbringing as an opportunity for communication and found that opportunity in a partner last summer who enlightened her on what vulnerability means and how it relates to falling in love.
In this year’s summer cycle, the artist continues to work with those themes of vulnerability and mental health by memorializing those feelings and further unpacking anxiety and overthinking during this period of isolation.
“My last four years allowed me to experience things that broke down the walls that made me hide behind a script, things such as grief, the ups and downs of mental health, practicing mindfulness and spiritually, and romantic love. In realizing this, I want nothing more than to recognize who I am as a raw spontaneous human being with no connections to what I consume.
BLACK LIVES MATTER. “
You can view the entire collection at https://hive.saysi.org/2020/seniors/index.php?who=aolani and purchase the zine here: https://checkout.square.site/buy/BLULSBBXSRCF64F6CFKPVY4D
You can follow her art on instagram at taglefrontier,