Growing up as a Jewish-American, African-Brazilian woman, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo became interested in mixed identity and the relationship between individuals and society.
She delved into those concepts as a student at New Roads School, and she has continued exploring them as an artist since graduating in 2011.
“My stories are intertwined with those of many others,” she said. “The engaging process of gathering the narratives of people and communities that surround me is on equal ground with the artistic craft of telling them.”
Branfman-Verissimo is one of several New Roads alumni whose artwork is currently on display through February at the private school’s Rappaport Gallery, 3131 Olympic Blvd., in Santa Monica. A free public reception for the “All Together NOW” exhibit is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26.
The exhibit aims to builds on New Roads’ celebration of its 20th anniversary by showcasing the work of former students who have pursued a wide variety of opportunities in creative disciplines.
“As we mark the 20-year milestone,” Head of School Luthern Williams said in a press release, “we are extraordinarily proud that our exceptional alumni are finding professional success and creative fulfillment in the realm of visual arts.”
Curated by the school’s visual arts director, Marcia Moore, the exhibit features textiles, printmaking, drawing and sculpture as well as photography. The alumni whose crafts are spotlighted have worked as professional artists, designers, publishers, photographers and instructors.
The exhibit “pushes creative boundaries, challenges students to solve problems and defies conventional assumptions about the kind of art children are capable of making,” Moore said.
Sasha de Koninck, a 2009 graduate, infuses her art with technology by incorporating digital components into her fabric creations. “Smart textiles” enhance the experience for de Koninck, who graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013 before studying fibers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Smart textiles allow me to use touch as a way to activate the artwork,” she said. “It invites you to participate, touch and react to its response.”
Allison Littrell has taken a more old-school approach. The 2010 alumna recently teamed up with a fellow Bard College graduate to launch All-In, an arts and culture magazine. The exhibit features her drawings.
“When I draw, I’m forced to study the world around me as it is, and the difference between self and surroundings disappears,” she said. “For as long as I can remember, the experience of drawing has caused time to drop away.”
Hunter Forrest, a Malibu native, has pursued his passion for jewelry since graduating from New Roads in 2011. He said growing up with accomplished cellist Marston Smith as a father activated his creative side.
For Daria Kobayashi-Ritch, a 2009 alumna, creativity is a minimalistic endeavor. With her photographs, she attempts to capture the essence of her subjects.
“I want my work to convey a sense of honesty and authenticity,” she said. “I am most interested in capturing real life. … I want to document who my subject is rather than overly directing and posing them into someone they aren’t.”