GradX is the Grade 12 Art Exhibition, which takes place each May in celebration of the culminating year of students in the art program. The show is a collaboration of art works created by the Grade 12 art class and provides them with an opportunity to display their works to the public.

The students work independently on their portfolio year projects, incorporating their own inspirations, ideas and portfolio requirements for university. In working on their pieces, the students explore a variety of materials and methods to successfully communicate their thoughts to a wider audience. The Grad Exhibition allows students to showcase their final pieces among family, friends and the wider community.

We hope that their work offers joy, thought and inspiration.

Ariana Akbarieh

Loving art has never really been a question for me. Since the moment I could first hold a crayon, I was drawing on whatever blank surface I could find. My passion for art fuels my creativity and my imagination, which are two major parts of my personality. I couldn’t imagine a day where I wouldn’t pick up a pencil and put something down on a page. Art is almost everything to me; a hobby, a passion, an escape, a pick-me-up, and most importantly, a huge aspect of who I am. Even at times when I wasn’t happy with my work or felt as though I would not improve, I never questioned my perseverance in the field. Art is too much a part of me to ever give up on.

One thing I always try to do with my pieces is to tell a story. As someone with an avid imagination, I can’t help but try to create a narrative with each and every one of my works, however simple or understated it may be. My goal for this piece was to convey the idea that appearances can be deceiving through a juxtaposition of royalty versus trickery. I have always loved illusions and mysterious elements in artwork, and I think creating an ominous atmosphere for the viewer can make a piece very effective. With this work, I wanted to depict a girl who, based on her appearance and where she is, appears to be royal. To tie in the ‘trickery’ aspect of the juxtaposition, I included a lot of different elements that would normally be out of place in a royal chamber.

Jack Benjamin

My time as a visual art student at CDS is full of some of my favourite memories at the school. I find that during my art classes over the years, I have been able to truly express myself, as well as my creative expression which is incredibly valuable to me as an individual. I find that throughout my daily life there aren’t many chances to show off your creative vision. For me, being an art student has proven invaluable as it has allowed me to fill my schedule and deviate from the structured schedule of a normal school day. Integrating art into my school life, as well as my life at home, has brought with it the ability to maintain a clear image of the bigger picture and allows me to instill greater patience for endeavours outside of the art classroom.

Midnight Market is a piece that was inspired by the Japanese lore of spirits and creatures that are popular within Japanese culture. The piece was made from cardstock paper and illustrator pens. The piece’s composition consists of an alleyway market with storefronts and large billboards making up a majority of the composition. Throughout the piece are different spirits and monsters wrapped around rails or peeking around corners. The strengths of this piece are the imaginative scene, which plays strongly towards my creative process, as well, the light and dark values highlight my ability to make intriguing scenes with minimal variations with material or colour.

Mackayla Dabit

I have always looked forward to going to art class, I have connected with so many like-minded people and have grown throughout my time at CDS as an artist and as a person. To me art has always been a part of my life, it has been a way for me to express myself. I have grown to see how many things can be a masterpiece, and how anything around you can be a work of art. The idea of starting with one idea and having a whole new different piece in the end, is something that I can connect to my life. I would say that I live through my artwork, and all of my fellow classmates, friends, family and, especially Ms. Castellan have influenced my final product.

Infrared Emotion is a conceptual piece of artwork, and is an acrylic painting on canvas. This piece deals with mental health as a subject matter, and shows how when someone is dealing with a mental illness there isn't always a physical indication. Most emotions, feelings and pain is kept within, and you never know what someone could be experiencing just from what you see on the outside. This piece was really fun to work on as my usual materials are ink and paper, and this pushed me to work with a material I'm not as comfortable with. I think the simplicity from the three primary colours and the black background really allow for the piece to stand out. I think this piece is something that everyone can connect with in a way, and that it represents me as an artist because all of my pieces can trigger different feelings and memories when the viewer looks at them.

Yasmin Kirby

For me, art is a way to relax and escape reality. It is something I have always enjoyed doing. Becoming a good artist takes time and patience. It also requires that you constantly work to improve your technique and style. From secretly finger painting on my bedroom walls as a toddler, to being allowed to paint using a fine tip brush on a bathroom mirror in our house, I have used art as a means to express myself and my ideas, when my voice was not strong enough.

The Emperor’s Pants is a conceptual piece of artwork, and is an acrylic painting on denim jeans. I based this image on the Chinese Dragon, a mythological creature that is said to bring good luck to people, and is also part of the Chinese lunar calendar. Back in ancient China, wearing clothes with imprints of dragons was meant only for the emperor or symbolized the wearer was linked to the emperor.

Nusha Naziri

Art has always been a key aspect of my life. For as long as I can remember, creating artwork has been my happy place. Anyway in which I can let my ideas flow into something real is how I love to express my creative side. It helps not only with my artistic ability, but also down to an emotional level. I use art as a way to understand who I am and what I am feeling. I am able to express myself in ways much more powerful than words. Through my journey as an art student at CDS, I have been able to improve on my skills more and more with each piece I create and am able to constantly challenge myself to try new things. I am so grateful for the opportunities that CDS has given me to allow myself to grow as an artist. Without these outlets I would have all these trapped ideas just waiting to be let out. Art has helped me in more ways than I can describe with problems I have faced at school as well as in my personal life. As I graduate and move onto the next chapter of my life, I hope to take everything I have learned and use it for many years to come.

Love Potion is a conceptual piece of artwork. It is the first piece I created this year and by far my favourite. This piece depicts a love potion with smoke and different images emerging from the bottle. The main purpose of this piece was to create my own take on concepts often seen in old Disney movies. What may seem like something that can only have a positive outcome, can change and become the opposite of what you might expect. It begins with the images of love and slowly transitions into images of evil, which is similar to the classic “twist” that we often see in old fairy tales. I am proud of this piece because I find it both well thought out and visually appealing.

Sabrina Pietrangelo

Hi, my name is Sabrina Pietrangelo and I am part of the 2020 graduating class at CDS. I joined the CDS community in grade 9 and have taken art every year since. Art class is my favourite class and I always look forward to attending it. This year specifically having such a small class, we all got the opportunity to get to know each other better and shared many laughs together. Although we all share a passion for art, each student has a different style of art which makes our class environment super unique and one-of-a-kind. To me, art is more than just drawing and painting; I have the ability to use my imagination and can be as creative as I want. The bittersweet end of my CDS art journey will not stop me from pursuing my passion. I look forward to continuing to create art in my future endeavours.

One of my favourite pieces that I created this year was an oil painting of a panda that I named, Pinyin. The viewer's eye is instantly drawn to the panda bear in the center of the canvas. The black and white contrasts with each other making the panda bear look more bold. This piece actually has a conceptual meaning behind it and conveys a story. Pandas are on the list of endangered species and could possibly become extinct if change is not made. Humans are cutting down bamboo trees and this is the panda's main food source. In the top left corner of my piece you can see it looks dead and has a few cut down bamboo trees. The panda is sticking out his tongue at the viewer which is a human because the panda is showing he does not appreciate what humans are doing. He is also firmly holding onto a piece of bamboo to show that it is his and not the humans. One of my favourite things about art is how it can tell a story like my piece did.

Message From Ms. Castellan

Being able to express oneself and to communicate your ideas to society is the greatest achievement that the artist can attain. Through this creative act, they explore their humanity, test their resiliency and enrich the lives of others.

Each year, the graduating class of art students continue to share their ideas through conceptual work, expand their horizons through their experimentations, and provide discourse through their discussions.

May Art remain a part of your life wherever your future takes you. Let it uplift your soul and help you to realize your dreams.

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5
(905) 833-1220
Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.