Artist Ariel Bates finds meaning and material in ‘fragments of thought’

Artist Ariel Bates finds meaning and material in ‘fragments of thought’

One might call Ariel Bates an accidental King’s student.

She came from New Market, Ont. to Halifax three years ago to study art, and moved into residence at King’s as a non-King’s student.

“I needed a residence to live in and King’s just happened to offer that…I had never read the Divine Comedy, I couldn’t have read Nietzsche—but I was exposed to the environment and through that two years later I ended up doing FYP (the Foundation Year Program) just because I fell in love with the place.”

King's student Ariel Bates

‘Accidental’ King’s student Ariel Bates began at King’s as a non-King’s student living in residence. She went on to do the Foundation Year Program while continuing to develop her artistic craft.

Ariel found friends in residence at King’s with whom she would draw in the Manning Room inside Alexandra Hall residence. “There’s a very creative environment here and it’s really easy to tap into,” she says. Ariel considers herself an interdisciplinary artist and says FYP was an interesting course of study because she was exposed to so many great thinkers. She collected “fragments of thought” all year long to channel into her art, and she also gleaned personal insights from the FYP curriculum: “I remember reading Sappho and I think in that moment I was experiencing some form of unrequited love and it was really cool just to make that connection,” Ariel says, “…and form a stronger understanding of where I fit into my own world. I think that was the most exciting part and it has helped me grow so much.”

She is now a full-time King’s student and once again living in residence, this time as a staff member. Ariel is junior don in King’s Angel’s Roost residence, responsible for maintaining a positive environment and keeping students there feeling safe and supported. She’s also sometimes a server at Prince Hall (King’s dining hall). When she leaves campus, she often gravitates to nearby downtown Halifax, where one of her favourite places to buy herself a treat and relax with a book is Pete’s Frootique and Fine Foods. “What’s great about [Halifax] is you really can walk everywhere on foot…it’s an easy place to navigate, which I really enjoy.”

Ariel struggles to describe King’s in just one word, but offers up “meaning” as a possibility. “Before FYP, I read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, and it really talks about this human desire of searching for meaning in our lives…They say it [FYP] is a journey and I don’t know if I knew what that meant when I started, but it was like every day learning something new and sort of expanding.”

King’s is pleased to be able to welcome students from other universities such as Dalhousie and NSCAD to live in our residences when space allows.

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