Herzlia Matric Visual Art 2019

On the 7th of October, the SAJM officially opened the Herzlia Matric Visual Art class of 2019 exhibition..

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert ties bravery to the artistic process. She says:

“Without bravery you will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small – far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be.”

Gilbert encourages writers to be brave in order to engage the difficulties of the creative process. Her insights are helpful to our pupils as they navigate a subject that is filled with similar challenges.

These difficulties are important as they offer our pupils spaces to explore their place in the world. The artworks they create and the subjects they touch on may help them to make sense of their experiences.

In the first term, pupils were encouraged to respond to the South African Board of Jewish Deputies’ ‘No More Hate’ Campaign. They were encouraged to find a contemporary event that resonated as painful, hateful or unjust and to see how they could process this event through a series of artistic acts. The idea was to explore whether the act of making could lead them to a place of understanding, or help them to find a way through immediate feelings of helplessness. British Nigerian artist, Yinka Shonibare, has a lovely way of thinking about this. He has said ‘Art should never simply be the illustration of a problem. It has to transcend it.’

A similar process-led activity was engaged in the second term. Rather than being led by content, pupils were encouraged to allow non-conventional art materials to offer unexpected possibilities. This project is titled ‘Art and Alchemy’, and like the early alchemists, the pupils were encouraged to look for the transformative properties of their materials. Essentially, it is a project that hopes to excite the real magic moments of making.

In the third term, for the Preliminary Practical exam, pupils were encouraged to reflect on their year’s work, looking to pick up on any moment, in an artwork or sourcebook, that they felt needed further exploration. The theme was ‘Reflections,’ and it was loosely framed by Robert’s Frost’s well known poem, The Road not Taken.

Shortly thereafter, the pupils were briefed on their final practical exam, externally set and examined, which was themed ‘Rituals’.

I commend all the Art pupils for their dedication to a subject. It is fitting that we celebrate their experiences and their work with this exhibition.