This Michaelmas term, pupils in all Houses were invited to participate in the inaugural Remembrance Day Painting Award. The competition was organised by Mr Nikolas Arvanitis, Head of Art, who initiated it as a way of bringing Art into the Houses and encouraging students to reflect on the meaning of the commemorations.
The 13 House teams were each given a large-scale canvas with an outline of a soldier drawn in the middle of it and were briefed about the idea. They were asked to keep the integrity of the figure intact but were free to interpret the theme of Remembrance in any way they felt would honour and respect the occasion.
All Houses rose to the challenge and the students produced an outstanding, and incredibly diverse, set of paintings.
Propert’s submission was chosen by the Chaplain to adorn the Chapel during Remembrance Day and was awarded the ‘Chaplain’s Choice Award’. After Remembrance Day, the paintings were exhibited in the Art Department where judges, Mr Russell, Head of Sixth Form; Mr Dunn, Head of History; and Mr Arvanitis – decided on the overall winner and awarded commendations for Composition and Creativity.
The commendation for Composition was awarded to Holman, and the commendation for Creativity was awarded to White.
The Overall Winner award was given to Robinson, for their optimistic and original interpretation of the theme. The painting drew on the work of the Vorticists, an early 20th-century group of British artists inspired by Futurism, who themselves were heavily impacted by the Great War. The Robinson artists had made a conscious decision to leave the figure white in order to allow the viewer to project their own ideas and feelings about Remembrance Day. The painting was described by the judges as “bold, timeless and inclusive”.
The winning house will be presented with a trophy during final roll in December.
Mr Russell commented on the event: “It was a humbling privilege to be invited to be part of the judging panel. The range of work was extraordinary, and it was moving and inspiring to experience the students’ work. Piece after piece was surprising, thoughtful, daring and different. While familiar imagery and symbolism were often used, many pieces moved far beyond cliché to offer something fresh, original and sincere.
“I take nothing away from Robinson’s winning entry – which was particularly cohesive, considered and polished – by saying that the project as a whole utterly transcended the sense of competition. It unlocked emotions and ideas that are far more valuable, and far more profound, than the shallow thrill or disappointment of winning or losing. Overall, it was an inspired initiative which significantly enriched and deepened College life during the time of Remembrance.”