GEMS Out & About – Another Chapter in Our, Artistic Journey

Last week Grade 11 & 12 had the opportunity to partake in two gallery visits where students experienced the work of other artists first hand, inquired into how art is depicted through different disciplines, by different cultures, in different ways, across different times.

Not only was it a physical journey but also a great addition to each student’s artistic journey, facilitating their creative process in regards to future outcomes and alternative explorations. They sketched, took notes, and photographed throughout.

The first IN Exhibition at the Australian High Commission comprised of a variety of works by students from different international schools and was a perfect example for our students to see how other students had responded to the creative process. An impressive range of IGCSE, A-level & Diploma work was exhibited.

This field trip also gave students the opportunity to learn more about the process of curation, how and why pieces had been placed together, gain inspiration from the wide-ranging work included and of course admire some of their own pieces on display.

Our second visit took us to the National Gallery where we viewed the Century of Light collection; Colours of Impressionism, (Masterpieces from the Musee D’Orsay, including artworks from Monet, Renoir, Signac, Cezanne and more) and the Between Worlds, (Focusing on two artists who are considered national heroes in their home countries––Indonesian painter Raden Saleh (c.1811–1880) and Filipino painter Juan Luna (1857–1899).

Both exhibitions took us on a journey – the first looked at “Impressionism through the colours that painters used at different stages in their careers. Taking us from the deep blacks of Manet’s Spanish-influenced paintings, to the green and blue landscapes of Cézanne and Monet, and the soft pinks of Renoir’s classical female figures, it traces the importance of colour to the Impressionists’ radical reshaping of painting in the 19th century”.  

The second “demonstrated the range of painting styles and art movements that developed in 19th century Europe during the post-enlightenment period of innovation and change. Taking us through significant chapters of each artist’s journey, uncovering parallels and differences in their experiences, from their emergence as artists in Java and the Philippines; to their subsequent training and participation in artistic and social circles in Europe; and their later return to Southeast Asia”.

To empower students to continue their own artistic journey and to connect our learning in the classroom with the world around us, the trip was designed to help students develop a better understanding of many artistic concepts. We explored and discussed how others express themselves in a visual way – viewing and responding to the artwork of others. We debated the best way to build interdisciplinary connections and horizontal and vertical articulation – gaining a greater awareness of the course requirements and possibilities.

Students developed conceptual understandings of how the Arts motivate us to develop curiosity and experiment in innovative ways and many expressed how appreciative they were of seeing the artwork ‘up close’ and knowledgeable they felt being able to recognize many of the impressionist works and names they saw.

Whilst modern technology is a wonderful thing and allows many people access to information and visuals all over the world, nothing quite beats seeing ‘real’ artwork on display.

The wonderful thing here in Singapore is that entry to these exhibitions is free for students. From both myself and the IB Diploma art students, we all encourage you to see for yourself. The building alone is worth a visit!


Claire Rimmer
, Head of Department, Visual Arts & Design

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