Eight Art and Design students from the British International School Pudong who have worked hard over the two year IB Visual Arts course were pleased to showcase their work in the school’s Performing Arts Centre this week. A private view of the IB artists work, professionally installed with effect lighting was open to VIP guests and, of course, the proud parents of the students.
The artist’s personal journeys were also on display in written form and in the investigative workbooks which must also be submitted for the examiners to assess.
Laura Funnell, the Head of Art at the school comments: “IB Visual Arts is an extremely intensive subject and it requires a great deal of practical making time in the studio if one is to do well; these students have made this commitment.”
Take Amy Jung, for example, a young Korean student who gains obvious pleasure from the creative process and has committed to those many hours because that is where her interests and aspirations lie. Independent and curious Amy has been praised for her investigative approach and her ability to explore her conceptual ideas through experimentation in a range of media. Her chosen theme of “Freedom and Repression” was inspired by her home culture of Korea but further inspiration also spanned many cultures including British, Korean and Chinese artists. Amy says, “…it allowed me to become more open minded. To express freedom from the repression in relation to production, I practiced using huge brush strokes and tried to hesitate less when starting on blank paper. Lots of my works reveal personal self and inner thoughts.” She tried various art media including acrylic, oil and water colour paint, 3D sculpture and model making and even working with chicken bones. “I learnt that art is not only limited to the use of traditional art materials; anything can become an artwork.”
Chae Eun Lee was also exhibiting her own accomplished selection of art pieces. As a young artist Chae Eun considers her artwork very deeply, “Art encompasses a huge range of unknown things. Sometimes art is very complicated and at other times it can be simple. The love of Art has stayed with me, developed, grown and now, I cannot imagine life without it.”
“Most of my artworks represent me.” Chae Eun’s overall theme was ‘Two Faced Self’ as she considers that most people have a difference between outward appearance and inner mind. From an early age Chae Eun moved around many different countries, and she feels that art is based on cultural references and environment. “My art reflects Korea, China and Western countries because I am a ‘third culture kid’ born in Korea, living in shanghai and I go to a British International School. I researched various artists, to show a sense of and be inspired by, all these cultures.”
“All of my art experiences doing IB Visual Arts have strengthened me to become self-motivated, to develop my personal and organisation skills better. I feel Visual Arts are a way to open the mind, a way to communicate and share ideas and information in many different forms.”
Janneke Sintnicolaas has also grown through her experience with the IB Visual Art course. She has learned to involve themes and messages into her artworks instead of just focusing on creating ‘pretty’ art. “I learned that art is not about being beautiful to the eye, art is about expressing a message to the viewer or conveying something the artist feels passionately about.”
Janneke has explored her theme “Contrast and Movement” throughout the course and has enjoyed investigating and experimenting with different techniques and processes.
“My artworks relate to something that I’m passionate about. From worldwide global issues like poverty to my inner self and emotions, something that is only personally relevant. The main theme in my artworks is ‘Contrast and movement’ and I’ve explored this theme from many different perspectives. These perspectives could be Contrasting colours, Moving forms and shapes but also more symbolic like the Contrast between cultures and my Move from Holland to China. Throughout the IB Visual Arts course, my ideas and techniques evolved by creatively exploring my theme.”
During the 2-year programme taking IB Visual Arts at higher level the students’ depth of understanding of an artist’s intention and the process of creating a studio outcome following certain criteria has been a constant focus. For Elena Huhulea, this has also enabled her to focus on her Romanian cultural background taking additional inspiration from elements of other global cultures that she has come into contact with during her time at The British International School in Shanghai.
“My best example for this is the collection of objects from my ‘Appropriation’ project that reflect not just Romanian, but global cultural morals. Overall I tried to show my Emotional Heritage theme throughout all my work to try to discredit the international misconceptions of Romania.”
“Throughout my artist research, I was inspired mostly by Peter Davies, Ion Andreescu, Vipoo Srivilasa, Tracey Emin and Jenny Holzer; they all demonstrated that creating art is an on-going process, involving a wide variety of ideas, techniques and art media, from which ideas can never run out, allowing me to experiment with a large range of art media, such as Clay, Collage, Textiles, Photography and Photoshop, apart from acrylic paint.”
“The commitment in terms of hours in such a practical subject means the students have to make the time to visit their Art Studio outside the school day, at evenings and weekends. Much of the time is spent not only creating their pieces but exploring ideas, investigating art and artists from different contexts, experimenting in art media, techniques and processes to develop their themes and convey their own personal message.” – Laura Funnell, Head of Art and Design, The British International School Shanghai, Pudong.
Jia Yang Teo's main inspiration came from movements which can be said to belong to the branches of Surrealism, Dadaism and personal escapism; he likes the idea of exploring different concepts of reality though his artwork, in connection with virtual worlds, relationships and personal emotional dynamics.
Georgina Noble Owen finds her Visual Arts course allows her to express herself through different media to convey emotions, context and culture. “It’s a way to show case my different skills in manipulating different media and I feel that I have really made improvement and progress as an artist.”
The theme Georgina chose to create from was ‘Time’, “I chose it because ‘Time’ has such a broad spectrum of ideas and areas which can be explored, not only in a literal sense but in more metaphoric ones too. Furthermore, ‘Time’ has an appealing sense of mystery and intrigue and since moving to China my whole perspective of ‘Time’ has changed. It feels as though ‘Time’ moves differently here than in my home country of Ireland.”
“I started using Textiles as my goal is to study fashion in university, then I went on to Acrylic Painting, Sculpture, Drawing and Papier Maché. I have found that my skill with these mediums have vastly improved over the IB Visual Arts Course as I can now use them with ease and can work back into them.”
Georgina has just been awarded a place on the ESMOD (l'Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode) Fashion Design Degree Programme in Paris for next year.
Sean Huang proudly displayed and talked eloquently about his artwork inspired by his theme ‘Layers’ in this year’s Exhibition.
Elisa Pecorari comes from two distinct cultures; Italy and China. She embarked on her IB Visual Arts journey drawing from her life as an expat student exposed to different cultures. “Being brought up as an expat student exposed to different cultures has granted me the opportunity to immerse myself into the surrounding diversity and encouraged me to challenge my conventional thinking expressed through art.”
“Throughout my studio pieces I experimented and developed my artwork using different art media and techniques, this process taught me how to explore and experiment creatively. The idea of using unfamiliar media helped me to go back to and refine my art work, improving my skills and final studio pieces.”
“Taking IB Visual Arts in my experience was tough; having to learn about how an artwork is not just an imagination we create, but rather the importance of the personal story behind each artwork. This course helped me in various ways. I learned to improve on my work, develop new skills and most importantly I learned more about who I am as a person. This really helped me open up more ideas to let people understand what my artwork means. I know that because of this, I will have the confidence and ability to grow as an artist in the future.”