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TW: This article mentions rape and sexual assault.

In March, we checked out our annual DP Arts exhibition guided by DP Arts Teacher, Malathi Therunavukarasu, who gave us insights on what this exhibition is about:

“The Two-Year IB Diploma programme with Visual Art encapsulates the students’ creative expression in their final year Exhibition. This encourages students to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. It is a thought-provoking course in which students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and critical thinking, while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as Art-makers. In addition to exploring and comparing Visual Art from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media. The study of Visual Art encourages students to be lifelong learners and also provide a holistic approach in enriching their learning journey.”

We also talked to three of our Grade 12 student exhibitors – Kayleigh, Tiara and Charlie – on their journey through the Visual Arts DP Programme, what inspired their impressive creations, personal exploration of art and how GESS supported them, culminating in their DP Arts Exhibition.

Kayleigh’s theme for her exhibition was identity, connecting with culture and family. She expressed this through seven artworks ranging from sculptures to oil paints on canvas, watercolours as well as artworks done with the intaglio technique.

When asked about her inspiration, Kayleigh shared that she “wanted to create something that showed who I was and me finding a way to explore myself as an artist.”

Having always liked drawing and visiting exhibitions to explore artworks by different artists and learn about their inspirations have provided her with a good foundation for her own artistic endeavors. After GESS, she is considering pursuing a liberal arts degree that includes Art History components, “I am hoping in the future to be involved in helping with gallery set-ups, or research related work in the art scene such as on artists.”

Tiara’s artworks revolve around the themes of rape and sexual assault. She drew her inspiration from the growing advocacy for this very relevant topic as well as the Me Too – movement and a true crime show she watched. Through her artworks, Tiara aims to visually show “how such experiences could affect someone’s identity, confidence and sensuality.”

Through various mediums, she depicts a storyline from an initial feeling of sexuality and confidence in identity, to an individual suffering sexual assault or rape experiences, victim-blaming and the trauma and silent suffering that often accompany such an ordeal. In her final piece, she wants to show the “growth and its empowerment in realising that what has happened to you does not necessarily define who you are.”

As a child, art was a way for Tiara to express her feelings when she could not use other ways to do so. Now, art has become a medium for her to raise awareness for political topics that are important to her and that she wants to advocate.

After graduation, Tiara plans to join an Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Sciences Bachelor’s programme in Amsterdam. While she is not sure how art will feature in her future, it will definitely remain a hobby close to her heart.

We also spoke to Charlie whose artworks feature female anatomy and the sexuality within it. She was inspired by wanting to explore herself as a woman “and how the female body is able to express different emotions.”

Like her classmates, she explored and used a range of mediums from oil paints, plaster, acrylic paints, vinyl prints and charcoal to coloured pencil to bring her vision and storyline to life.

After graduating from GESS, Charlie is planning to continue her artistic pursuits and has big plans, “hopefully in the future I can set up my own art gallery featuring all of my works.”

Preparing for the DP exhibition has been a tremendous effort by our students and all three artists expressed how grateful they were to be guided and supported throughout by their teachers in research, exploring ideas and learning new skills and techniques, as well as having access to all the tools, equipment and materials needed to bring their visions to life.

Looking at the photos of some of the artworks, we are sure you agree that all the hard work over the past few months has paid off, and our students deserve to be proud of their artistic processes and achievements. We wish them all the very best for their future endeavours – artistic and otherwise.

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