Each year, United Learning has the pleasure of submitting the UK representative to the International High School Arts Festival, hosted by Japan’s International Federation for Arts and Culture (IFAC). Following a Group-wide competition, five pieces of student-created artwork is displayed at the National Art Center in Tokyo, and the winning artist receives an expenses paid trip to Japan to see their work alongside the winning pieces from all other participating countries.
Following the introduction of a two stage competition last year, once again each piece was uploaded to the official Facebook group to display the amazing range of pieces we received. 20% of the final score came from the number of likes each piece received. Once again we received an amazing response to our artwork, will nearly 4000 likes in just seven days.
For the second stage of the judging, once again, renowned artist Michael Aubrey kindly donated an afternoon to share his expertise and judge each piece based on its artistic merit. Of the quality of work this year and his participating in the festival, he said:
‘It has been a pleasure once again to judge the International High School Arts Festival and I have been impressed by the wide variety and high quality of many of the submissions.’
Following the two stages of the judging, the winning piece was ‘Abuelito’, submitted by Lambeth Academy pupil, Carla (see inset photograph). Mr Aubrey had high praise for the piece, saying:
‘Masterly drawing, with biro used as delicately and subtly as the best pencil drawing. Mature observation of character, with the concept of age economically demonstrated by reduction to just the salient marks, resisting the temptation to emphasise this aspect by etching every wrinkle, but catching the essential qualities of experience, wisdom and kindness . Immense thought and care has gone into the treatment of the eyes and the subtle graduation of tones in the face. Effective use of the ground, pertinently chosen without any hint of gimmickry. This level of minimalism, verging on abstraction, is the result of close attention to the subject together with real command of the medium.’
The runner up pieces were as follows, all of which will also be sent to Japan to be displayed at the festival:
- In second place was the piece ‘Alpha Male’, created by Brogan Evans, from Richard Rose Central Academy;
- Third place was awarded to Steven Xu, Ashford School, for his piece Order and Disorder;
- John Panther, from Kettering Buccleuch Academy, achieved fourth place with his pencil piece, Survivor;
- Ellie Murray, Guildford High School, came fifth with her piece ‘Fragmented House’.
As always, the standard of work has been incredible, and have impressed everyone who saw them. The competition is a credit to the artistic talent within United Learning schools, and we are already planning on how to make next year’s festival an even greater success.