For the final show in this year's project we wanted to use the unique attributes of the space – it’s size, height and lighting facilities - to show off the work of all the young artists. Amy explains:
Like a flight path of a cliff nesting bird, drawings swooped from the rafters down to the ground. These drawings were a massive collaborative effort that tracked all the artists’ ‘flight paths’ to the auditorium from the school. On surrounding walls were beautiful detailed charcoal pieces by Brae and Fetlar while in the centre of the space papier maché blackbirds perched on fabric tyre swings made by Skeld (a distinctive landmark of the Skeld school playground). Sandwick made a ‘spooky’ pillar of wire structures houses and they also made brochs, both representing the community they come from. Brae made beautiful well-worked drawings, some of which were presented as ‘bricks’ in a wall, held down by Fetlar’s wonderful sculptural rocks. Aith gave us a bounty of fabric and paper sculptures representing their journeys, hugely inspired by Amanda Welch’s work in her exhibition at Bressay Lighthouse.
We hung Whalsay’s bold landscape reliefs on a fishing net from the balcony, to reference their island fishing heritage. We love how this made the works appear to be caught by a trawler – making the exhibition a sea full of art. It doesn’t stop there! There were dozens of drawings, all made around the theme of 'journey', and 307 sketchbooks to display. These were shown both on an iPad as a film and as a ring on the floor in the centre of the exhibition.
As part of the project all the artists visited the auditorium in February and March for the Artangel/ Dinh Q. Lê exhibition The Colony. During these visits we made a timelapse film of every primary pupil, as they acted as birds building their nests from discarded plastic on the ocean floor of the exhibition. Secondary pupils from each school helped create artmaps in vinyl which were installed on the tables in the upper café bar for several weeks leading to the Unexpected Sites exhibition.
All the schools visited their show to see their own work alongside that of their collaborators and celebrate the creativity of the Start Schools Education Programme. A special ***THANK YOU*** goes out to all the teachers involved in this project for producing artwork with your young artists! We couldn’t have done it without you.