Art and D&T Exhibition
The summer exhibition this year was truly a whole school celebration of the visual arts, with every boy from the Pre-Prep to Year 8 exhibiting at least one piece of work.
A love of art is something deeply ingrained in me – I come from an incredibly creative family (whether that be visual arts, design, musicians, actors – and, arguably, teachers!) and, indeed, some of my earliest memories are of my grandfather teaching me how to draw. It is a part of my upbringing that I cherish and has, without doubt, shaped the way that I approach my life today. It goes without saying, then, that the Art and Design & Technology Exhibition this year brought me a huge amount of pleasure and pride in our boys and our Art and D&T departments.
There are countless studies that link the arts with positive growth mindset, growing self-confidence, improved communication and a deepening self-awareness and understanding. We are in the very privileged position that our boys at Pilgrims’ are exposed to a huge variety of arts through both direct instruction in Art, Design & Technology and Music, for example, but also through our whole curriculum which a love of art and culture permeate; the benefits of an art education and, more indirectly, art experiences create new pathways to viewing the world, forging deeper connections with the communities and environments around us. They strengthen our social bonds.
The summer exhibition this year was truly a whole school celebration of the visual arts, with every boy from the Pre-Prep to Year 8 exhibiting at least one piece of work, and it was delightful to watch the boys proudly escorting their families and friends around the various exhibits, explaining the concepts behind the art, the skills that they learnt in the process – the enthusiasm and engagement in the various artists’ works really stood out. From the Year 3’s study of colour and line with Piet Mondrian to the Year 4’s study of the human figure and illustration of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’, from the Year 5’s study of Fauvism with David Hockney to the Year 6’s study of sublime and picturesque landscapes, I was struck by the variety and structure of our Art curriculum, which holds at its core such a diverse range of artists’ works. Special mention must go to the Year 7’s study of hands, inspired by Jan Gossaert’s alterpiece, ‘The Adoration of the Kings’, in which the boys’ acute perception and awareness of line and tone was, quite simply, outstanding. Mention must also go to the Year 8’s self-portraits, inspired by the work of Mustafa Maluka – not only for the skills and techniques acquired by the boys, but for their creativity and personality that each of them was able to pour into their work. A perfect finale to their artistic journey at Pilgrims’.
In what was perhaps the most crowded space of the evening - down the stairs from the Art Studio and across the Grid - more delights were to be found in the D&T Workshop, where the boys’ work with the laser cutter and their meticulous design skills using CAD were evident in abundance. I was struck, once more, by their characterful designs and the creativity with which they approached their projects, from the Year 7 lamps to Year 6 stools, from the Year 5 buggies to Year 4 room signs – each piece an embodiment of its creator’s exploration of self-identity.
In such an exceptionally busy year, it’s testimony to the motivation of our boys and the dedication of our Head of Art, John Walters, and our Head of D&T, Alex Armstrong, that such an impressive display of works could be curated. I would argue that in a world where we increasingly focus on exam scores, such an outlet as this for self-expression is all the more important in helping our boys to become innovative, creative and – most importantly of all – happy individuals.
Director of Studies