The Senior School corridors, offices and even the teachers’ staff room have received a little update with the addition of our new Art displays. Students work from Years 8 through to 13 has been photographed, printed onto canvas and arranged into gallery style collections around the school. Whilst we all appreciate having our walls filled with imagery and enjoy having a more decorative space, the work displayed is much more than just pictures. The Art we create has a function and purpose beyond its aesthetic. There is a context, meaning and message that supports every piece work. The final outcomes displayed are really the answers to complex and challenging investigations. Behind each artwork there are observational drawings, thorough written analyses and experiments with media. The blurbs alongside the displays contextualise the work and hopefully offer some insight into why the students created it. Congratulations to our featured artists, not only for the fabulous exhibited artworks but for the huge amount of time, effort and talent that was applied before it was even created!
Imagine spending hours of your time designing, researching and sculpting a beautifully intricate mask, for it to crack, fall apart and crumble at the last moment! Disappointment, frustration and a little bit of sadness will surely fill your creative heart. How wonderful that our Year 9 students had the opportunity to experience these things! It certainly wasn’t our intention to produce masks that didn’t quite make it out of the kiln in one piece, but when these things happen they provide huge amounts of learning and invaluable experience. Whilst we continuously strive to build the confidence and esteem of our young artists, it is arguably just as important that they experience failures and disappointments. Without such experiences, students will never take risks for fear of failing. So rather than dwelling on the fact that the clay dried too quickly or the bags weren’t air tight or that porcelain shrinks too much on a mould… we will instead value the processes that we practiced, reflect on how we could do it better next time and above all realise failure is very much part of our success. And of course as Artists, we’re able to adapt the concept of our work in response to unforeseen circumstances…
“Our beautifully distressed and fragile masks were inspired by cultures other than our own, therefore the broken pieces are representative of the ignorance and discrimination that we’re destroying through gained knowledge and the appreciation of others’ heritage.”
Well done Year 9, we failed extremely well!
Students have been left in awe and amazement after Disney Animator, Aaron Blaise visited DCSL this week. Gasps were heard throughout the theatre as students realised he had created so many of their favourite characters. From Nala in the Lion King to Raja in Aladdin, it was incredible to see the process from concept to the final feature. Through lectures and workshops, Aaron has undoubtedly inspired many youngsters with his incredible and humbling story. The “Persistence of Vision” is a film-making term referring to the illusion of movement through still images. Aaron used this phrase as his overarching theme for the sessions he delivered, encouraging students to remain focused on their goals, even when faced with obstacles. Students were captivated and moved as he spoke about the highs and lows of his extraordinary life. Year 7 were introduced to animation methods that depict the effect of gravity and soon realised that “everything in animation is the bouncing ball.” Whilst IB Art and Drama students were fortunate enough to work alongside Aaron during a pen and ink workshop. A truly inspirational day for all of our young artists.
The absolute highlight of the Visual Arts calendar, the IB exhibition has certainly made an impression at DCSL this week. Yeonwoo Kim, Felipe Villalobos Torres and Eric Kim are to be congratulated for their incredible collection of work and exceptional curation skills.
As well as producing the practical artwork for the exhibition, the students have also completed a beautifully presented Process Portfolio as well as an extensive visual essay in which they have analysed and compared artworks from different cultural contexts.
All of the artists have carefully considered their conceptual message that they purposefully portrayed through their work. From observations of Korean culture, to social injustice regarding gender, the artwork has encapsulated very worthy and important themes.
Beyond the physical work, the exhibition is a display of the students’ integrity, maturity and dedication. There is no doubt that these students will make significant contributions to the creative industries and beyond. Thank you Yeonwoo, Felipe and Eric for your impeccable work ethic and inspirational portfolios, we wish you every success in your future studies.
A kind and creative group of students from Year 7 through to Year 12 have dedicated a substantial amount of time over several weeks creating blankets for babies for a local orphanage. The majority of the students had no prior experience in crochet and so had to learn new skills very quickly. The actual technique is very complicated and takes a lot of patience and perseverance. However, it is most impressive that after the many hours the students have spent creating these blankets, they are all so happy and proud to donate them to infants that need an extra bit of comfort and colour in their lives. The students’ kindness and dedication is certainly admirable.
As our interaction with technology and digital environments increases, it is vital that our students not only have the skills to recognise and interpret a digital visual language but are able to manipulate it and discover their own “voice”. Students in Years 8 and 9 have been experimenting with a range of digital skills that don’t rely on expensive software or equipment, but are available to everyone that has access to the internet. In doing this, we have developed our fundamental, core skills that can then be applied to more sophisticated methods and complicated technology. Year 8 students created Geometric Self Portraits using vector style illustration methods. Many of the students were shocked to find the surprising range of colours found in their skin tone. The Year 9 students created digital assemblages of images and drawings that they had collected as part of an independent sketchbook challenge. The task taught students a range of digital skills such as layering, opacity manipulation and composition. This was the first time that many of the students had worked with entirely digital processes and the results are so effective that several of the artworks have been printed onto canvas to be displayed in the Senior School.
To celebrate the Lunar New Year and embrace cultural traditions, the Year 8 students have enthusiastically dedicated their Art lessons to practising the Chinese craft of papercutting. They used their prior learning in Mandala imagery and pattern-making to create intricate motifs of the “Golden Dog.” The process can be laborious and requires a lot of patience. The Year 8 students showed a lot of perseverance and care, to achieve some beautifully delicate and imaginative outcomes. One artwork was selected as the logo for the Dulwich Seoul Lunar New Year celebrations. The talented artist was Alix Kim 8JA, who created the beautiful papercut pictured. Congratulations Alix and well done Year 8 for your creative contributions.
Our talented students in Year 8 have certainly impressed this term as they produced work in response to a live brief provided by the Forgiveness Museum in Steyl, The Netherlands. The museum exhibits all kinds of pieces on the subject of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is also the only museum in the world that is focused on these theme's. Right now, their exhibition is especially focused on youth to encourage us to think about what forgiveness is and what it means in a world full of conflict and oppression.
We researched people who embodied or inspired forgiveness, and used our newly honed portraiture skills and mono-printing techniques to capture their likenesses. To emphasize our concepts further, we used transfer techniques to include quotes that encapsulate our message.
All year 8 students produced an outcome and twelve pieces were selected by the Year 13 IB Visual Arts students. Eric commented that he was “flabbergasted by the almost abstract nature of the layered portraits.” Whilst Yeonwoo was inspired by the students’ “impressive and sophisticated compositions.” It was the “imaginative and bold use of colour” that captured the attention of Felipe.
Congratulations to the following students, whose work will be exhibited at the Forgiveness Museum until February 2018.
All Senior School Art students have made an excellent start to the school year and have already produced some outstanding work. Year 13 have worked incredibly hard over the summer to ensure their portfolios are up to date and of the highest quality. Their positivity and commitment is setting an excellent example for the large cohort of Year 12 students who have just started their IB Visual Arts journey. As an introductory project, Year 12 have been challenged to “remake” famous artworks using photographic or digital means. So far, their ideas are very exciting! The IGCSE students in both Years 10 and 11 are making huge leaps of progress in terms of their pure drawing skills which is a key focus of their assessment. Key Stage 3 students are showing masses of enthusiasm and willingness to take risks. Traits that we encourage throughout their art education. Year 9 in particular, have shown superb skills and patience whilst tackling observational drawings of skulls. These drawings will form the basis of their own interpretation of a Vanitas- traditionally a still life rich in symbolism concerned with inevitabilities of life. Su Lee in 9FV, has so far created a wonderful study showing accuracy, skill and most importantly stylistic flair! (Pictured)
Well done, to all Senior School artists and thank you for making my first week at DCSL so welcoming!
"How lucky I am, that in my twelve years in this profession, I have spent four of them teaching Sebastian." says Shelley Swain, Head of Art and Graphic Design at Dulwich College Shanghai. She is talking about Year 13 student, Sebastian, who has not only been awarded a scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design, but has just been shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery Art Prize. The Saatchi Art Prize is a very prestigious art competition that attracts thousands of entries every year. From the 24,000 entries, just 20 artists were shortlisted, including our very own Sebastian.
Shelley continues, "His photograph entitled The Last Lesson, is a satirical remake of Da Vinci's The Last Supper and captures who Sebastian is as an artist and observer of the world. As a draftsman his drawings are exceptional, however, over the last two years Sebastian has often turned his back on his traditional fine art talents to pursue much riskier and challenging methods and pathways. Highly competent in both digital and hand-made media, his outcomes always offer an intelligent and often witty narrative. This is also a reflection of Sebastian's character. An unassuming student, it is easy to mistake his calm and reflective nature for shyness. However, upon engaging in conversations about his work, it is clear that he has a lot of confidence and charisma."
The exhibition of the 20 shortlisted works will take place 4th-13th July 2017 at the Saatchi Gallery, London. The winner and runner up prizes will be announced on the 4th July at an awards evening.
We offer Sebastian our warmest congratulations in all that he has achieved so far, and the very best of luck in his future endeavours!
“Creativity” article for The Shanghai Daily
We live in an ever increasingly visual and digital world. I believe passionately that a quality Art education is vital for young people to not only understand the world they’re viewing but to develop their own visual language in order to interact with it successfully.
A creative environment (be it a classroom or at home) should be a safe space for children to take risks and have their voices not only heard but encouraged. It is through positivity, reassurance and humour, that a positive climate can be created.
All skills develop over time and require practice. The more enjoyable we can make a creative session, the more likely a child will want to repeat the process. As a child gets older, it is motivation and resilience that will keep them practicing. Therefore, it is important that children know why they are doing something. “If we keep practicing gradual tonal change and accurate recording, soon you’ll be able to create a portait and then we can learn how to create expression!”
It is sometimes difficult to motivate children to be creative when they do not appear to show any interest in the Arts and would rather place their energy elsewhere (sports, academics etc). This is when it is most important to share the purpose of what we’re doing and find links to their existing interests. For a child who is very mathematical, creativity can come from rhythmic pattern based work including tessellations, rotations and repetitions. A child who is fascinated by science and dreams of being a surgeon can be persuaded into visual arts when highlighting the fine motor skills that are developed through paper cutting or origami; the same skills required by the best surgeons!
Looking at the work of others is often the most successful starting point when teaching or developing creativity. Whether its artefacts from other cultures, paintings from the 20th Century or installations from Contemporary artists, they will provide initial conversation and idea generation. This leads to the acquisition of a broad knowledge of cultures and artists as well as transferable analytical skills. Involving the work of others also provides context for the child; where do I fit into the Art World?
Through encouragement and purposeful direction, we can instill a love of learning and a lifelong appreciation and enthusiasm for the Creative Arts.