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Celebrating Visual Arts Week

King’s Maths School recently celebrated its inaugural virtual Visual Arts Week in which staff and students enjoyed seeing an array of thought-provoking films, photography, and paintings, providing a platform for creativity and dialogue.

Students and staff were asked to recommend renowned creations within the visual arts which inspire them. Their recommendations were compiled into a vibrant virtual bulletin called KMS Recommends which was shared with the school community. Visual Arts Week also incorporated several entertaining after-school virtual movie screenings, chosen by students.

Head Teacher Dan Abramson said: “We had a wonderful response to Visual Arts Week. Thank you to the students and staff who recommended an eclectic mix of visual arts masterpieces. Creativity is a vital part of self-expression and can help to engender growth and development. It was great to see so many students engage with so much visual creativity.”

In the photography category, Emma Lawsen, Lead Teacher of Wider Outcomes, recommended visual activist Zanele Muholi who has since the early 2000s documented and celebrated the lives of South Africa’s black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities. Mrs Lawsen noted that she found Muholi’s self-portrait photograph Qiniso, The Sails, Durban 2019 "a positive, striking symbol with its use of afro combs, almost like a crown.”

The medium of cinema generated interesting recommendations including from student Kaiwen who put forward “Hidden Figures”. A biographical film about a team of gifted female African-American mathematicians who were vital to the U.S. space program, the story lays bare the discriminatory laws and prejudicial practices prevailing at the time. As Kaiwen noted in the bulletin: “The three heroines used their exceptional ability to convince their colleagues and earned themselves the respect they deserved. They are the hidden figures.”

In paintings Mr Abramson nominated the American-German painter, Josef Albers, who is best known for his iconic square paintings featuring a dazzling array of colour combinations. These works along with his writings are considered invaluable contributions to colour theory.

Mr Abramson said: “His paintings express a love of colour, colour in combination, and of course, geometry. Little did Josef Albers know he would inspire the colour scheme for King's Maths School 55 years later.”

Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how vital creativity and the visual arts are for connecting, learning and overall wellbeing. Whilst cultural organisations such as art galleries and museums are closed, finding alternative ways to engage in the visual arts has been more important than ever.

King’s Maths School is passionate about creativity. We aim to develop all forms of creativity to complement the outstanding mathematical reputation of our school. Events like Visual Arts Week are a testament to our commitment to nurturing imagination, curiosity and new ideas.

Kelly Barry, Assistant Head, said: “Many important studies have shown how exercising our creativity dramatically improves our wellbeing and happiness. At King’s Maths School, we take creativity very seriously and weave it into the fabric of the day-to-day life of our school.”