“Do a good art, even if it’s a bad art.”
Historical List of Redundant Form Four Actions (2016)
- Wear down art teacher with persistent pleas for the Right to Drink Tea in the studio.
- Rename the class “Arteepeepee”.
- Sing the music of Queen incessantly, with absolute disregard for the subtle nuances of the great Freddie Mercury.
- Engage in a farcical, tea brewing, non-art-making scenario until said granted right is withdrawn.
- Make a good Art
A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the Cambridge Outstanding Learners Awards, in which I am very proud to say that the Hellenic art Department claimed the “Best in Zimbabwe” at IGCSE, AS and A2 Level, as well as receiving two High Achievement Awards for the May/June exam session last year. I thought I would post a few of the extraordinary works here, the two AS High Achievement submissions and the IGCSE Best in Zimbabwe.
Mana was one of the members of GShiz, and Melanie emanated from the Studio of “Mrs Mac”. They wrote during the May/June session (something we used to do..) and were part of a group of exceptional submissions. Indeed, since I am blowing our horn (that’s the sound…), I might point out that the lowest grade obtained for the group of 20 was a B, which is quite extraordinary. The AS comprises a coursework submission and an examination (15 hours over three days, which despite being a beast – ask Sarah – is always a creatively intense and rewarding experience). Both Mana and Melanie (Malanie/Melana) had characteristics in common: a high degree of creativity and an exceptional level of skill and a great sense of aesthetic. Here is a taste of some of the work of Malanie/Melana:
Luc Brazier was awarded Best IGCSE Art and Design Student in Zimbabwe, an excellent result following a couple years of smouldering activity and some pretty startling renditions of Queen, not to mention being the driving force behind the Arteepeepee debacle. His submission was the first animation to be entered as a Final Outcome by the Academy (most likely by any Zimbabwean School?) to date.
Luc combined a wealth of technical knowledge and superb artistic and aesthetic judgement as he produced a work of startling weight and impact. It is not uncommon for our students to address “heavy” themes, many do as their lives collide with the raw and brutal facets of life. It is much less common that these works come over as uncontrived. For many, despite the impact of these, they are less artistically mature and some work becomes cliched, relying on predictable imagery or symbols and “shock” tactics. Luc’s in contrast, is a dark, hard hitting and edgy work. for those of us who know him, it came as no surprise that there are heavy doses of sardonic comedy (not humour) entangled amidst the tragic narrative.
At each level it is demanded of the candidates that they support and investigate their ideas and demonstrate how these have been developed throughout the submission. I think in some regards we were privileged to be given access to Luc’s thoughts, since so much was highly personal, and which, in sketchbook form, clearly demonstrated the progression and decision making of the work.
Here is a taste of the exploration.
Here is the final outcome:
Luc was also the first candidate from the Academy to answer an examination with pure photography. He tackled this with a similar degree of creativity and courage, and employing a level of investigation and expertise well beyond what would normally be expected from a student at this level. As before, his preparation was personal and deeply investigative. Here is some of the preparation and the Final Outcome:
It should go without saying that there was a wealth of extraordinary work that emanated from Arteepeepee and I would do well to feature some more of it at some point. But for now, let me say as always, what a privilege it is to work with the many pupils who invest themselves as wholeheartedly in their work as they do; beyond the extraordinary amount of effort, it is above all, highly courageous.
It seems hard to believe that we are almost the end of the art exams for Trinity term. The AS mock finished today, the remnants of Arteepeepee reconfigured as Pigs and Chickens had a taste of the 15 hour beast; they were weary, but for the most part, successful. Vagrants continued their journey through the A2 coursework, App up the Vicious wrote their IG mock, the Form 3s (a cracking bunch) are done, so are the 2s and the Form 1s write on Tuesday. A total of 39 hours of exams.
- Aluminium melts at 800 degC. We know this from the IG students smelting it (through questionable means) for casting.
- Said molten aluminium explodes if poured into a damp mold.
- Percussive sounds of welders, grinding metal and the roar of the (modified) blow torch is heavy, after the 9th hour.
5 Replies to “That’s the Sound…(Part 1:Ft. Arteepeepee)”
Incredible work Greg. Congratulations to you and the students. The students deserve their high grades. Thank you for the excellent presentation. Mum.
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Thank’s mum – they certainly work to achieve them, and they do deserve them. Lucky for me that the photographs of Luc’s work were taken by him and his father, and extraordinary photographer himself, which aids in the presentation!
Very impressive work from outstanding students encouraged by a dedicated teacher. Well done to all – the marks are well deserved. Should instructors / tutors / teachers also be marked?
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Thanks Dad. A touchy question – obviously instructors should be accountable.
As you and I know, a good teacher can transform and individual’s life, or destroy it – something I mention from time to time. But beyond the particular pupil, who can judge that?
The “appraisal” issue has raised it’s head periodically everywhere I have taught, and its very difficult. Beyond basic professionalism, which can and should be assessed, is part of the job. But quantifying what else makes a good teacher is very difficult. At St. George’s I was part of a committee that was required to design and instrument for assessment, and it seemed an impossible task, at the end of which not any person is happy.
Student achievement is not even a standard, because one person’s “c” is often better than another’s “a”, in terms of personal development. So to compare is not really a gauge.
I think the most accurate test would be via the pupils. However, a teacher’s popularity, strictness etc. would easily interfere with the process. They are definitely the best placed to judge, but perhaps from some period after their experience, so that they assess more objectively? In the end, all of us can say which teachers / lecturers / professors actually made any impact on our lives, positively or negatively, many years later.