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By Amanda Beattie June 21, 2023

WHAT IF art prompts at the SPACE Showcase: talent, humour and wit!

During the SPACE Showcase, which took place in 3C.1 from May 1st to May 5th, visitors were invited to participate in some interactive art and writing exercises. The results were enlightening, inspiring and hilarious all at once. Here is a glimpse of the activities of the WHAT IF art prompts and the responses:

What if famous works of art were executed in a different way? How would people respond to a traditional masterpiece done in a more modern style? What if the genders were reversed in a work that is charged with implications – how would the power dynamics shift? What if a work that is orderly and harmonious were to be presented in a more chaotic light, and vice versa? Playing with artworks that were done in a specific way and altering not only their formal elements, but also parts of their story, brings about an interesting narrative about these works, and can perhaps make us think about them in a different light.

Visitors were invited to pick a prompt (or two, or three!), and create a new work of art based on its instructions. They were asked to think about the differences between the original and their own version, and whether the process of changing the original made them think about it differently.

Once the visitors finished their work, they were invited to pin it up on the board with the others, so that everyone could enjoy multiple versions of the original work, and ponder on these questions collectively. Here are the prompts and the responses:


What if Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was painted in the style of Picasso?
(below left: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, 1503; below right: Pablo Picasso Au béret et à la robe quadillé [Marie-Thérèse Walter], 1937 )



What if Hyacinthe Rigaud’s Portrait of Louis XIV was painted in the style of Basquiat?
(below left: Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait of Louis XIV, 1701; below right: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982)


What if the genders were reversed in Artemesia Gentileschi’s Susanna and the Elders, 1610?
(below: Artemesia Gentileschi’s Susanna and the Elders, 1610)


What if you replaced Andy Warhol’s soup cans with something that is significant to you?
(below: Andy Warhol, Soup Cans, 1962)


What if Frida Kahlo represented the two sides of her identity in a single portrait?
(Frida Kahlo, The Two Fridas, 1939)

What if Medussa was a serpent with humans coming out of its’ hair?
(below: Caravaggio, Medusa, 1597)


What if Mondrian worked exclusively in complementary colours and squiggly lines?
(below: Mondrian, Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue, 1930)


What if Jackson Pollock painted with straight lines and in grids?
(Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1949, 1949)


And finally, here are some random contributions that found their way onto the board as well!

About the author

Amanda Beattie teaches Art History at Dawson College and is Assistant Chairperson of the Fine Arts Department. She also writes for exhibition catalogues and art magazines.

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