What do a trolley, two plastic hoops and a picture of Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel all have in common? They have all visited schools across Kent and Medway to get students and staff thinking about this year’s theme, as part of our special Portfolio outreach sessions.
The workshops have provided a brilliant opportunity for us to reach new audiences, offering art lead experiences for schools that may have never taken part in Portfolio previously or visited the gallery before. The Gallery’s Navigators, who co-developed and delivered the sessions, have covered a huge distance from Margate to Sevenoaks (and every district in between) and met over 600 students and staff.
The Navigators encouraged students and staff to delve deeper into the theme by looking at the work of artists considered rebels and sort them into various categories. From the seascapes of J. M. W. Turner to the street art of Banksy and suffragette protest banners, the images sparked lot’s of debate about what we consider art to be in the first place and what the motivations for an artist to challenge the status quo might be. Using the images encouraged conversations to go in many different directions and off on fascinating tangents. Is what was considered a rebellious piece of art still considered one today? What will the future rebel artists be doing and might one be considered more of an art rebel today if we painted a seascape? What are the implications of social media and technology and what can students and teachers tell us about their world and what they care about through art?
The discussions were followed by practical hands on activities involving everything from continuous line drawing and tearing up work to make a collaborative piece to team challenges, where secondary school students where given the same materials and different themes connected to ‘Art Rebels’ to create a unique piece of art. Navigators met amazing students who had brilliant ideas about how they might approach the theme and we have had some wonderful feedback from teachers.
‘The activities were brilliant – the children were really challenged with the continuous line drawing exercise and the ideas behind the final piece. We have already got it on display with the rationale and inspiration with it! They are all fired up and hopefully we will have some great pieces to submit to your competition.’
We hope that the outreach sessions will encourage even more entries and get visitors to the exhibition this Summer at Turner Contemporary . We can’t wait to see the entries and wish everyone lot’s of luck. The Deadline for entries is Monday 18th March, 12am GMT.