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Featured Student Artwork
Each year, Jefferson Humanities & Health commissions a student to create a work of art that resonates with our programming for the academic year. This year's artwork—responding to the 2022-2023 theme of Repair—is a series of black-and-white digital photographs by Jasmine Wang, a fourth-year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Jasmine’s project, called Building in Tetris, includes a title image as well as five individual photographs that together make up the ‘pieces’ of the larger composite image: Humans, Mechanical, Medicine, School and Nature. We asked Jasmine to tell us about herself and her project. Read on for her bio and interview!
Meet Jasmine Wang
I am a fourth-year medical student (Class of 2023) at Sidney Kimmel Medical College from Newark, Delaware. Growing up, I focused a lot more on performance arts but always kept an interest in fine arts in the back of my mind. I was able to explore that further when I took a few classes in drawing, painting, and photography during my time in undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. That training has provided a great foundation for me to explore my creative interests.
Life follows a dynamic path with cycles of ups and downs. These past couple of years with COVID have created some of the deepest troughs in our lives. As we slowly but surely climb out of this valley, we can reflect on the mechanisms by which this occurs. Repair, in the simplest definition, symbolizes the course by which a broken concept is restored to its original or better state. In a twist on the classic game of Tetris, the title piece includes various "blocks" that represent how we augment broken relationships in "Humans," broken projects in "School," broken bodies in "Medicine," broken constructs in "Mechanical," and broken life forms in “Nature.” More importantly, we need to consider how best to arrange and utilize these blocks effectively so that life is supported on a solid foundation. "Building in Tetris" hopes to inspire thoughts on the complex meanings of repair in one's life.
How did you develop an interest in art?
I went to a middle school that incorporated art classes as part of their curriculum and that seeded my interests. I really enjoyed being able to use my own hands to create a piece and contemplate the endless ways of representing ideas. During college I branched out from the pre-medicine path and had the freedom to explore art with formal training. I eventually ended up buying my own DSLR and have since been carrying it with me everywhere on trips. I’m the documenter for my travel buddies!
What artistic mediums and materials do you prefer to work with? Why?
Currently, I use digital photography the most. It provides me the most accessible access to a creative outlet, and I am able to bring my camera with me anywhere. With post-processing of images, I am further able to expand the possibilities of the outcome of my photos. The most impactful type of photography for me that I have used is analog photography. I shot pictures in black and white film and was able to personally print my pictures in a darkroom. I appreciated the intentionality of film and hope to one day return to this medium!
Are there any ways in which your art practice intersects with your medical education?
Of course, there are many ways in which concepts and skills are shared across both fields. During preclinical years, I would redraw anatomical pictures in preparation for exams. During clinical rotations, I utilized attention to detail, spatial visualization, and fine motor skills to guide my learning in patient care and in the operating room. These are just a few examples of the crossover.
Do you have any tips for your classmates about how to nurture a creative practice while also being a student?
Balancing student responsibilities and creative interests can be challenging a lot of the time. I believe dedicating some time each week or so towards a piece or joining a related community can help continue your connection with your creative side. For me, I enjoy posting my photos and browsing others for inspiration!