Kristina Drinkwater, Grasping For Youth (2015)

One after one the high emotions fade; 
Time's wheeling measure empties and refills
Year after year; we seek no more the hills
That lured our youth divine and unafraid, 
But swarming on some common highway, made
Beaten and smooth, plod onward with blind feet
And only where the crowded crossways meet
We halt and question, anxious and dismayed. 
Yet can we not escape it; some we know
Have angered and grown mad, some scornfully laughed; 
Yet surely to each lip--to mine to thine-- 
Comes with strange scent and pallid poisonous glow
The cup of Life, that dull Circean draught, 
That taints us all, and turns the half to swine.


Archibald Lampman (date of composition: 1889) Lyrics of Earth: Sonnets and Ballads. Toronto: Musson Book Co., 1925.









Archibald Lampman’s “The Cup of Life” expresses Romantic mourning for a lost, divine connection with nature in the context of the developing Canadian landscape. Written in 1889, the sonnet offers critical commentary on the effect of Southern Ontario’s rapidly industrializing economy. Lampman uses food metaphors to describe the metamorphosis of a typical individual entering the capitalist order, and to appeal for awareness on this aspect of the human condition in hope of social reform. Alluding to Homer’s The Odyssey, he invites reflection on the dangers and lessons of experience. The poem positions the reader as the consumer of an unnatural drink that may devastate the essence of identity. In doing so, it provokes anxiety over the precepts that society demands one swallow, and reflection upon the nature of identity within the social order.
— Emily Perkins
Archibald Lampman believes that everyone is tainted by life, but ultimately the decisions that one makes will determine how one ends up. A figurative cup encompasses the poem “The Cup of Life.” This idea of going through life by filling a cup up, draining it, and then filling it back up with no questions is really quite concerning. One must be courageous and make one’s own choices in life. One must not conform to others’ opinions. One must stay true to one’s self and question every decision. One must be willing to take risks.
— Lauryn Franklin

Clockwise starting from left: Russell Dornian, Untitled (2015); Tasman Brewster, Untitled (Tea Sampling Cups) 2015; Gurleen Virk, Untitled (2015); Tyler Eyres, Untitled (2015)


These hands in the darkness are like people “swarming on some common highway” and they “plod onward with blind feet.” One never truly knows where on in going in life, but if one follows mindless, group decisions, one will be stuck in the darkness one’s entire life.
— Lauryn Franklin
Lampman likens the process of entering society to drinking from a poisoned cup, suggesting that industrial greed prevents spiritual nourishment and results in our reduction to swine (food for the industrial order, as well as unthinking consumers). To avoid monstrous transformation, we should question what we ingest. The coloured hands featured in Drinkwater’s painting are often used as a symbol for universal need in a global community. The artist states that the painting is about “the desire to reach youth again,” as typically, “We stop chasing our dreams, or ideals, that we are filled with when we are young.” However, the painting does not problematize the fact that yearning for youth is part of the consumerist ideology which destroys natures and devalues the arc of the human life-span.
— Emily Perkins
Brewster’s installation involves four painted canisters containing tea. One is painted with worm-like creatures, the second black, the third blue with gold starbursts, and the fourth with what looks like intestines or brain tissue. Inside the lid of the one tin, an inscription reads, “We are the monsters underneath your bed and inside your head.” Like Lampman, Brewster’s work suggests people should question what they ingest. One canister smelled like alcohol, also indicating that tempting drinks should be examined carefully and may not be as they appear at first glance.
— Emily Perkins
The painting is of a confined, Greek mythological room in which both nature and people are stuck. The figures appear ghostly as if they are mindlessly living life without actually being there. The ghostly figure drinks from a cup, but when the drink doesn’t turn out the way that the figure had hoped, then the figure turns into a pig-like creature. According to Lampman, life will “[taint] us all” and it will even turn “half to swine.” If one does not make intuitive choices, then one will end up confined, living a boring life.
— Lauryn Franklin


TASMAN BREWSTER (FINE ARTS) is in her second year of the Diploma of Fine Arts at KPU. Her goals are to move into the BFA program and to continue working on mixed media projects.

KRISTINA DRINKWATER (FINE ARTS) Kristina Drinkwater is majoring in Fine Arts and plans to become a freelance artist.

TYLER EYRES (FINE ARTS) is a BFA major currently studying at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Following graduation, Tyler plans on pursuing further education within the art & film world with interests spanning drawing, painting, and digitalization just to name a few.

LAURYN FRANKLIN (ENGLISH) enjoys English and History courses and is hoping to go into Education in order to become an Elementary School teacher. She would love to share her creative influences and passion with children. 

EMILY PERKINS (ENGLISH) is a student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has a BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from the University of
British Columbia.  She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree followed by an MA in English for Teachers.

GURLEEN VIRK (FINE ARTS)  is a third year student at KPU majoring in Fine Arts, and prefers to work in the medium of painting and drawing. She hopes to acquire many skills while exploring art and take that knowledge into the art world.