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Veronika Duvanova
“The Balancing Act”, 2023
Gouache On Clay

The statue of a hand, sculpted to be able to hold a series of objects that are of great value to me. The objects are not fixed to the hand, but are balanced on top of each other in a way that will not cause any to fall.

The objects, like the phone, dog or paper, represent what one might value, whether it’s social life, pets, or school. People constantly balance these ‘objects’, deciding how much time to dedicate to some activities, prioritizing every single day.

Every day, however, especially during school, I’m surrounded by people who struggle to balance their studies, social life, sleep, hobbies, family, etc. To balance their life, they replace something less important for something more important, or try and squeeze everything in. Sometimes it works, as demonstrated by the statue, but other times it takes a bit of turbulence to send everything flying off the ‘hand’.

In real life, balancing is a very important skill - some people learn it by utilizing planners, and others use apps to keep track of their activities or time. What I really wish to see, though, is this skill taught more in school where it might be needed a lot more.

In my artwork, I wanted to combine three-dimensionality clay can provide with paint, which I usually use on two-dimensional mediums. I was inspired by art in which the viewer can directly interact with the art, as well as the idea behind education that reflected and debated as to what should and shouldn’t be taught.

The CAI grant enriched my time as a student in Stuyvesant because it allowed me to experiment with a medium I haven't explored on such a large scale. I used it to not only try and sculpt a hand, but also to consider the deeper meaning behind everyday things and moments, and think about the message that I wanted to convey to other students.

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