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29th June 2023

Critical & Contextual Studies Pupils Visit Nottingham Contemporary

Oakham School pupils visit Nottingham Contemporary

Form 6 Critical & Contextual Studies pupils visited Nottingham Contemporary to see three contrasting art exhibitions.

The first show by, Zimbabwean artist Kresiah Mukwazhi, explored visual activism and spirituality through large scale vibrant textile-collages and video performances. The students were able to engage with sensitive topics and consider expression of culture, violence, colonisation, and socio-political issues through artworks.

The second exhibition was centred around storytelling, specifically the tale of a young giraffe called Lenka. The show is designed to consider the engagement of children and families over the summer holiday, so includes a puppet theatre that is shaped like the body of a giraffe and encourages participants to create their own version of the story, to sit, listen and daydream under a giant suspended sculpture.

Artist Eva Kotátková’s combined sculpture, drawing, collage, costume, text and sound throughout the exhibition entitled ‘How many giraffes are in the air we breath?’. The exhibition is an entirely new body of commissioned work that was produced in collaboration with local children from a Nottingham primary school.

The third exhibition, by artist Abbas Zahedi, entitled ‘Holding a Heart in Artifice’, provided space for the students to pause and consider artists’ motives for making. Initially trained as a medic, Zahedi diverted his energies towards making art following a close bereavement. The artist works with people and places to help process difficult emotions and histories.

The Critical & Contextual Studies course focuses on the development of fictional exhibitions. Alongside considering what works the students would exhibit, they also have to consider the public programme that supports the exhibition and how to get visitors to attend.

Speaking about the visit, Teacher of Art Miss Jess Gilbert said: “The visit to Nottingham Contemporary was such a wonderful experience for the students.

“They experienced such broad exhibitions that will enrich their research and planning for their own fictional exhibitions.”

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