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An Artist Shares the Energy of Creating

It’s a rare UWC graduate who can jump back full-time into UWC life and learning — and one of those few is Yaro Zabavskiy (Russia, UWC Atlantic, Earlham ’14). Since last August, he has been teaching visual arts at the United World College Dilijan in Armenia, with a special focus on ceramics and analog photography. Yaro coteaches with colleague Kevin Hopkins, from whom he’s also learning the basics of painting and drawing. “The IB Visual Arts program is designed so that students are encouraged to try a vast number of art-making forms and processes,” he writes.

“The fact that our students come from different countries and cultures contributes to the emergence of unexpected results. What happens if you synthesize the work of Alfons Mucha with colors and motifs of southeastern Africa? How similar are the symbols of ancient Armenia and the kingdom of Israel? In the process of finding answers, the students create their works and inspire each other.

“In our art studios,” he adds, “there is an atmosphere of international creative chaos that I do not want to leave when classes are over. I often stay after and work on my own art pieces alongside the students, and sometimes have the most interesting conversations with them. I treasure these moments.”

In his own work, Yaro has explored ways of bringing together film-based photography with ceramics, in part by transferring photos onto frames of clay.

“It is the excitement of creation that is in the heart of my passion for the arts,” he declares. “Art is also a way of understanding myself and the world around me. It is an intimate process, yet I have the desire to share the results of it with others.”