Pupils shine at annual art centre festival

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•Youngsters shun clichés in bright, imaginative exhibition

COLOURFUL, creative and captivating works of art are on display at this year’s EL Fest at the Belgravia Art Centre until next Wednesday.

The public have much to feast their eyes on at the centre, where artworks from Grade 1-12 pupils from schools throughout East London will feature in the gallery.

The principal of the Belgravia Art Centre, Stephanie Frauenstein, said the highlight of this year’s fest was the foundation phase work.

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Stephanie Frauenstein, right, principal of the Belgravia Art Centre, gives a double gold to an artwork by Clarendon High School’s Rebecca Mqamelo. EL Fest coordinator Cheryl Kent stands beside her and admires the art on display Picture: SARAH KINGON
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Stephanie Frauenstein, right, principal of the Belgravia Art Centre, gives a double gold to an artwork by Clarendon High School’s Rebecca Mqamelo. EL Fest coordinator Cheryl Kent stands beside her and admires the art on display Picture: SARAH KINGON

“The humour, ingenuity and inventiveness of the artwork and the way the materials are combined is very impressive.

“The primary school art is of a much higher quality than when I first began here,” said Frauenstein, who has been the principal for 26 years.

“The art is not only judged on the success of the picture but the amount of thought and imagination that has been put into it and the confidence that the child has shown in their ability to fill the space,” added Frauenstein.

Schools select 20 artworks from each education phase to be presented at the exhibit. The art is evaluated by a selection of art teachers throughout the city and rated with double gold, gold, silver and bronze awards.

All participants will receive certificates of merit for their selection to the event, which is already a major achievement.

Festival organiser and head of foundation phase at Cambridge Primary School, Cheryl Kent, described this year’s exhibition as one of the best she has seen. The artwork includes drawings, 3D works, group work projects, photograph montages and many other unique artworks.

“From my experience, it is the children that are totally uninhibited that produce the best pictures,” said Kent.

Frauenstein agreed adding: “One of the challenges to children’s art is the cultural stereotyping that takes place, where for example they try to draw characters from Disney. This year there is very little of that. It means there is an opportunity for children to develop their own prototypes and ideas and create unique works.”

She added that high school students tend to struggle the most with this because of their desire to fit in.

Hudson Park Primary School teacher Bunty Breetzke, who teaches the foundation phase art club, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the pupils and teachers to learn from other schools and get new ideas.

“The standard of art at this year’s exhibit is very high. It’s colourful and bright and there is a good variety. I come here year after year and often see the same names following through. It’s amazing to see the artists shine here. Even though its a stressful time for teachers, it is chance to be inspired.”

Kent added: “Every year I come back and stand on the platform and look over all the artwork and think, a few months ago all these pages were white and now there is so much creativity and imagination on display.”

Art can be viewed on weekdays from 8.30am to 4pm at the Belgravia Art Centre in Belgravia Crescent.

The exhibition will close on Wednesday July 15 at 3.30pm.

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