The polarizing 2016 presidential election ushered in a year of rabid partisanship, where issues of identity, immigration, and even nuclear war were put into question.

American Advanced, 2017. | (Julianna Lajko, Westhill High School, Connecticut/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

When the nation's future is a source of anxiety for the majority of American adults, as one poll finds, what kind of an impression does that leave on America's youth?

The School of Visual Art's BFA Photography and Video Department wanted to find out. The New York art and design college reached out to high schools across the country asking for young photographers to submit an image that would define America as they saw it. Over 2,000 submissions poured in from 30 states. The resulting collection — America 2017 — paints a vivid portrait of how teenagers are grappling with the explosive political turmoil that has seized the nation.

Many of the images, which include a mix of photographs and digital composites, take an artfully direct approach to social issues like race, gender, and sexual orientation: In one image, a woman's face is obscured by the stripes of the American flag; in another image, a gay biracial couple embraces while one man stares directly into the camera.

Love, 2017. | (Cameron Barnes, Arbor View High School, Nevada/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

"Identity, of course, is something that all teenagers are concerned about, but I think it's possible that in the last year that idea has gone from being a fairly personal consideration to a political consideration," department chair Stephen Frailey, who helped curate the exhibit, told The Week in an interview. "And I think that some of the students are afraid that [...] their rights as individuals are being compromised."

Grasp, 2017. | (Kamryn Friedrich, Perpich Center ​for​ Arts Education, Minnesota/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

Nostalgia Bound, 2017. | (Courtney Beatty, Ola High School, Georgia/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

In other works, the emotional tension is more suggestive. One image of a young girl blowing the seeds off a dandelion seems to yearn for a simpler time, while another image of hands hanging on a wire fence points to a pessimistic future.

"Young people's work or their opinion is uncomplicated by more practical considerations. In other words there's a certain purity to it," Frailey said. "There's a certain clarity that young people have that gets complicated as they get older, and I think the clarity is something that we need to return to."

Below, take a peek into the churning waters of the young American mind:

Resting Wonders, 2017. | (Alex Martin, Pine Bush Central School, New York/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

‘MERICA, 2017. | (Samantha Angelini, Somerset Berkley Regional High School, Massachussetts/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

Freedom is Not a Wall!, 2017. | (Katelyn Alderson, Arbor View High School, Nevada/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

Sofia, 2017. | (Caroline Jayna Kempczynski, City-As-School, New York/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

Lolita, 2017. | (Elizabeth Mizer, Wauwatosa East High School, Wisconsin/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

A World of Devices, 2017. | (Rachel King, Lake Travis High School, Texas/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

Untitled, 2017. | (Bryn Mathews, Miss Porter's School, Connecticut/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

Torn, 2017. | (Madeleine Milner, Gilbert High School, Arizona/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

American House Wife, 2017. | (Samuel Sturznickel, A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Florida/Courtesy of the SVA BFA Photography and Video Department)

**Experience the full America 2017 series from the School of Visual Art's BFA Photography and Video Department at the SVA Gramercy Gallery in New York City, on exhibit now through Dec. 2, 2017.**