Mélissa Nadeau is a high school art teacher in Laval, Canada for 17 years. She is also the creator and organizer for an upcoming virtual show of student work created in response to the Pandemic. Mélissa Nadeau contacted me last week after My Art Lesson ran the post, One year with Covid: Artistic responses in art lessons and student artwork. Here is a Q&A about Diagnostik

What is Diagnostik?
Diagnostik will be a poetic nod to what young people are experiencing together in a given period of time. The goal of the project is to set up a virtual collective evoking the internalized image of students around the world through the arts. These students are influenced and sensitized to the same social and historical phenomenon; the pandemic. The creative proposal, made to the students, consists of the realization of an interpretation of themselves; a symbolic self-portrait in various forms of expression. In short, a personal creation that relates the emotions, feelings, and intimate reflections of the emotional journey currently being experienced. This project, directed by myself, will not only highlight the talent of young artists, but will also allow for a global appreciation of the feelings of each one presented to a large audience. Eventually, the site will bring together a gallery of works by students representing each participating school.

How did you come to launch this project?
The project began in a conversation with my husband, from which I transposed my anguish into the reality of my teenagers in a bubble group who, despite their particular program, are unable to have enriching artistic experiences. So, while I was also in hybrid education, I thought about the power of the virtual and the whole thing was set in motion with the help of a graphic designer, financial help from all sides and a lot of solicitation on social networks.

What do you hope to accomplish through this project?
1. To bring to the forefront the benefits of artistic expression in the cultivation of psychological wellness;
2.Collect a large number of works by young artists in order to appreciate the diversity, but also the similarities between each of them.
3. To make a difference in the reality of young people by giving them a tool that allows them to express themselves, but also to experience artistic success.

How does a student or teacher become involved in your show?
The project is proposed to teachers, specialists and organizations that can propose, guide and equip young people between 11 and 18 years old during the realization of their personal creation. The involvement of the specialist is of great importance as the students find themselves in a project that requires introspection and a lot of commitment. The registration is done through the website. In this way, the participant is automatically added to the list of contacts and receives the steps for the delivery of the photographed works.

What is meant by a “collective?”
A collective for me is to be able to expose, in the same place, a digital space, all together, a group consciousness. This one which travels through artistic creations conditioned by values and stimulated by motivations which intertwine. In a period as historical as the pandemic, the collective had to take place. It is to be considered that the project has a profile of a grandiose scope due to its collaborative and collective aspect, until now 60 schools in 18 different countries are part of the collective.

The show is only online, correct? 
My real intention is to gather in one place, a digital space given the current circumstances, the lot of several personal artistic reflections, from coast to coast. To make this project a virtual collective in a common direction, the autobiography in images and words of the historical social phenomenon. The accessibility of technology and the evolution of the media will color cultures on the one hand and borders on the other. the use of a virtual platform which considerably multiplies the field of possibilities by giving an exponential visibility. This project, these works, these personal creations will be accessible to all. All being any Internet public, curious and interested in the historical universality of COVID expressed artistically. The grand unveiling of the artworks will take place online on June 20th; Solstice Day. 

[Editors note: the Diagnostik website has been taken down since the original publication of this article]