Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: The inaugural IB2 Visual Art Exhibition at the British International School of Jeddah opened with a display of 70 pieces created by eight students.

The exhibition, which runs until March 7, features diverse themes and art forms including painting, printmaking, photography, digital art, sculpture and installations. The works reflect each artist’s unique journey.

Head of Secondary School Pierre Scottorn said the art section of the International Baccalaureate diploma was very demanding: “Every student studying art in the program is featured in this exhibition. Over two years, they must create a comprehensive portfolio of work that includes a significant written component. (It) is not just a creative subject; it is highly academic. Students carefully curate their exhibition space, explaining the reasoning behind their artistic choices. Their grades are based not only on their artwork but also on the written explanations and overall presentation of the exhibition.”

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational element of her family history. (Supplied)

He added: “The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase the exceptional talent of our students and the high-quality teaching that supports them. It is a celebration of their hard work and dedication.”

Scottorn also highlighted the diverse career paths students could subsequently pursue.

“Some students will continue their studies in art at university, while others will pursue different careers such as fashion or architecture. Our students have been successful in gaining admission to top universities globally, thanks to the high standards of their work. The quality of their art significantly impacts their university applications and future opportunities,” he said.

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational element of her family history. (Supplied)

“The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint. This challenge extends to both students and teachers, requiring ongoing support and encouragement.”

Scottorn said he wanted his school to become a leader in the arts and added he valued partnerships with other organizations and individuals that would support this. He also hopes to introduce an artist-in-residence program in due course.

Shehzia Khan, head of visual art, shared insights into the depth and personalization of the students’ higher level art projects.

(L to R) Jude Kayal, Ayesha Rehman, Mayar Abdul Nnabi, Mrs. Shehzia Khan, Loulwa Al-Banna, Shahad El-Adawy, Sara Kreidieh, Mashael Iqbal. (Supplied)

“All the students participating in this exhibition are enrolled in higher level art. This year, they explored deeply personal themes showcasing a diverse range of subjects including fame, journeys, stages of life, empowerment of Saudi women, freedom, addiction, the human body, and culture and identity,” she said.

“Each student has chosen a theme close to their heart, demonstrating individualized and passionate explorations. The IB program offers students the freedom to choose their artistic direction after mastering foundational skills in oil painting, graphic design and sculpture.”

Khan said the exhibition served as the final exam, where each student had to display a minimum of eight pieces, curate their display, and provide detailed curatorial rationale and exhibition texts.

Mashael Iqbal, one of the exhibiting students, said: “I aimed to challenge the norms and shed light on the complexities of fame. By delving into themes of sexualization, method acting, and the darker side of celebrity lifestyles, I strived to provoke thought and evoke emotions. Each element in my exhibition represents a facet of the industry that often goes unnoticed. My passion for art and storytelling drives me to consider a future in the creative field, with a keen interest in exploring animation and digital media.”

Saudi art student Sara Kreidieh added: “My exhibition theme centers on the human body, delving into deeper dimensions beyond the physical aspects typically associated with it. Through my artwork, I aim to shed light on masculinity, the reluctance to seek help, confused identities, and societal issues such as racism, emotions, stress, and body dysmorphia. My collection includes paintings, photography, digital pieces and sculptures. I plan to pursue studies in architecture and eventually return to Saudi Arabia for professional work in the field.”

Even the school’s nursery level pupils are part of the exhibition. Helen Elhoss, head of early years, said: “Our children begin their art journey at two years old. Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, children are encouraged to explore diverse avenues for expressing their creativity and thoughts.

“The theme of our exhibition was centered around community. Some of our children ventured into the community to understand its significance to them. They then represented their interpretations incorporating elements like nature.”

 

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