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Graduation 2023: Student speaker Alina Gane-Hurcomb

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Jimi webWhen Alina Gane-Hurcomb addressed the audience at TLC's 2023 Graduation, she reflected on the woman who arrived there in 2017 on a mission.

Battling anxiety, and a nagging feeling she had been chasing the wrong goals for too long, Alina left her full time job and took a leap of faith, enrolling in the certificate programme at the little art school in Taita, Lower Hutt.

“My two main challenges before TLC were generalised anxiety and the realisation that the goals I had spent my life trying to achieve, were not my own,” says Alina.

“TLC provided me with a safe space to learn how to use creativity to manage my anxiety and navigate assessing my own needs, with a view to create and achieve new goals.”

Alina was student speaker at TLC’s 2023 graduation on Friday 31 March at Taita College. The ceremony recognised the artistic achievements of 178 graduates – but also what it means to pursue a creativity qualification in a society that undervalues the role of art.

Bienvenue1“From the age of about five I knew that I was supposed to be a barrister,” says Alina. “I didn’t actually understand what being a barrister entailed until I was much older. All I knew was that my parents, who loved me and wanted what was best for me, decided that was what I should do.”

She says this focus on pleasing her parents meant she spent a lot of years adrift, unable to commit to their wishes – but also too afraid to follow her own.

Alina, who is now in the final stages of TLC’s Diploma of Art and Creativity (Advanced), says the school has been life changing for her, and led to experiences she had only dreamed about.

“A career highlight was a trip to Paris last year to collect my first international art award, reunite with a collaborative partner and participate in a group exhibition at Carrousel du Louvre. It will never make sense to me that my first trip to the Louvre was to see my own work.”

Alina says TLC helped to chip away the self-doubt she had about seeing herself as an artist – and making the leap from Taita to the Louvre seem an achievable goal.

Andiamo1“I have gone from not being sure that I could be an artist to knowing that is exactly what I was supposed to be.”

With a long interest in the European masters and the architecture of the continent, Alina says she is now trying to break into the European art market.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in group exhibitions in Venice, Milan, Florence, Fuerte Ventura and have another booked for Paris later this year.” She has also been offered artist residencies in a gallery in the South of France and her “absolute dream residency” in Tuscany, Italy.

Alina says that her time at TLC has changed the way she sees herself.

“The biggest change is that I am now comfortable with referring to myself as an artist. I have reached the point where creativity has become so intertwined with my own identity that I can no longer see myself having any other career.”

You can read Alina's full Graduation speech here.


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