Last week at OISE York the students studied art and literature in their project lessons. From learning about masterpieces by Picasso, Klimt and Kahlo, to offering their opinions on controversial topics such as graffiti, iphone photography and Damien Hirst. Surrealism was explored by studying Dali and Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and we took a closer look at idioms penned by William Shakespeare.
The students enjoyed a Wednesday excursion to Yorkshire Sculpture Park where they learnt how to interpret art by asking questions such as ‘What do you see? and ‘Why is the sculpture blue/made of metal/smooth?/etc?’ This enhanced their curiosity about their favourite compositions and led to excellent understandings of material choices and the positioning of the sculptures in the park.
There were two clear highlights of the excursion, the first being Ai WeiWei’s ‘Circle of Animals’. A piece which helps people to think about the twelve original heads of the Chinese zodiac which had been stolen by French and British forces from Beijing. Five of these have been lost and never returned; and no one knows what they really look like.
The second highlight was seeing and interacting with Chiharu Shiota’s beautiful installation ‘Beyond Time’ set in an old chapel in the park. We learnt about the japanese artist’s desire to stop using paint and start drawing in the air, and we gained an understanding of how she created a way in which music could fill the space even without a church organ being present in the room anymore.
Video beyond time - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L51F-TLl_Tk
Going to the sculpture park really helped to inspire the students for their final project on Friday where we held an OISE Art Exhibition. The students were asked to create a piece of art or poetry and to explain their ideas and designs for their compositions. Each class had a theme, from Happiness to Colour to Dreams and we all visited each others work, voting on our favourites at the end of the exhibition.
Of course, no gallery opening would be complete without mandatory nibbles and the students got to sample five classic British cheeses, including wensleydale and applewood smoked cheddar. The French students declared that whilst stilton smelt like it belonged in France, they still thought roquefort was better.