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Emma Hinde, Form III, reports on her experience of participating in this year’s Art Prize and on the prize giving evening, held last weekend. Emma won the Junior Art Prize this year with her painting above.

The Art Prize was different this year. It used to be just drawing or painting any picture or making something within any theme for the craft. But this year there were set themes: Journey and Identity. We also had to make a mind map relating our artwork to the chosen theme. This meant that fewer people entered fewer pieces of work, but also made it easier for our visiting artist, Conrad Frankel, to judge.

On Saturday evening, he came in to talk about his work and announce the prizes. The talk came along with a slideshow, which showed some of his paintings and how they had evolved over time. Inspirations change. He mainly paints landscapes now. We were given lots of useful tips for painting. I will tell you some of these now:

“The sky is light and the Earth is a shadow,” “Shadows are cold” and; “the best colour you can make is unnameable.”

He also told us how he started his paintings; beginning with the sky with a palette knife, looking at what he is painting with his peripheral vision to get the outline, and then blocking a silhouette of the land.

It was a very interesting talk, and then the prizes were announced. Jeanne Levesque won the Earl of Meath Senior Art Prize, Tania Stokes won the Senior Craft Prize, Verlaine Bolger won the Photography Prize, Isabel Warnock won the Junior Craft Prize, and I won the Junior Art Prize. When I heard my name and saw my paintings on the screen, I felt like I could almost have jumped up and down in joy. It was an amazing feeling.

Amelie Buzay , Form IV, reports on her experience of the recent print workshop with Debora Ando.

During Arts Week on Thursday, March 28th, Form IV and V had the opportunity to take part in a print workshop. Debora Ando, who is a specialist in printing visited St. Columba’s for this day to teach us how Intaglio Drypoint printing works.

Firstly, she showed us some examples of her work so we could see what this type of printing is about. There were many different kinds of prints in different colours and sizes. Secondly, she showed us how the actual printing works; firstly, you need to have an idea of what you want to print. If what you want to print is a photo you need to print it out first, on the other hand, if what you want to print is an idea you have in your mind you need to draw it with pencil on a sheet of paper. Once that is ready, you need a small plastic plate that is placed on the drawing. You need to use a tool called a drypoint (a wooden handle with a hard metal tip) and you scratch with it on the plastic as you were using a pencil. The lighter you scratch, the lighter the print. Once you are finished you put the chosen colour of ink on the plastic plate and spread it into the scratched image with a small piece of cardboard. After you finished that, you place the plastic plate in the printing machine. On top of this, you place a wet piece of printing cotton paper. Finally, you run your paper and plate through the print press. This called pulling a print.

We all tried doing our own piece and the results were wonderful prints. It was really interesting trying something new and we all had great fun with this workshop.

Sveva Ciofani (Form IV) describes her recent visit to KennardPhillipps exhibition ‘Finnegans Woke’ at Rua Red Arts Centre, Tallaght; this was an Arts Week event.

Unique, fun and interesting are the words that I would use to describe our Art trip. It was a sunny Wednesday and my art classmates and I took the bus with Ms Cullen to the Finnegans Woke exhibition in Tallaght. We arrived around 3pm we entered a small building  I wasn’t expecting to see a lot of interesting pieces of art in such a small building! A really pleasant man explained in detail some of the pieces and all of them had a really deep meaning. My favourite piece was the first one that we saw: a skyscraper with a background of polluted soil that represented pollution spreading nowadays. The reason why I highly appreciated this piece is that lately, we heard a lot about global warming, pollution and strikes around the globe. Another reason why I like the piece is because it wasn’t actually a painting but a photoshop, a type of art that I find really interesting because it’s related to technology and not to the typical use of markers, paint and pencils. We also saw other pieces, for example, we saw a piece that played with the shadows and represented multiple things; in all pieces, there were various meanings. In general, I thought that all pieces were really controversial and unique, they all dealt with very important themes: racism, war, pollution. These are all issues of which we need to be aware. In fact, I strongly believe that this exhibition is made for opening people’s eyes, to make people aware and most importantly to actually do something about it, so I invite everyone to go visit it.

The exhibition does not just teach us, but also involves the viewer.  In the middle of the room, there was an enormous raft made up of all the posters that were made by the visitors. I think that the raft brings to the world some hope. The posters represented a good vision and awareness of the issues, and all of us made some posters. The poster that Ana and I made was about the gap between rich and poor and how this expands every year. It was about over consuming items and about bad lifestyles. We decided the divide the paper into two different parts, a colourful one and a dark one, because we thought that gave a strong visual impact.

My other classmates made posters about other important issues: for example body shame, inequality, racism and the acceptance of the LGBT community. All of the pieces expressed creativity and a sense of awareness, that is a positive thing in my opinion, because our generation is going to be next one, and if all of us are tolerant, educated and aware it is going to be positive for our society.

We had a good time and I think it was worth the trip.  Apart from learning a lot of things, it was also a way of changing our normal routine and try something new. We also had the opportunity of spending some time together, to work in pairs and to think about how privileged we are to have access to some things.

Below is a gallery of photos taken all the events during Arts Week, including the visit to Finnegan’s Woke.

The Art and Music Prize events took place over the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday nights respectively. These events traditionally bring to a close our annual Arts Week.

On Saturday evening we welcomed artist and Old Columban Conrad Frankel to speak with the whole school on his journey as an artist and, of course, to judge the entries for the prize. After a fascinating and humorous talk, Conrad announced the winners in each category. The prizes went to Jeanne Levesque (Senior Art), Tania Stokes (Senior Craft), Verlaine Bolger (Photography, one of her photos featured above), Emma Hinde (Junior Art) and Isabel Warnock (Junior Craft).

The Music Prizes Concert was held on Sunday, March 30th; the adjudicator was Mr Jonathan Browner. He is currently headmaster in Educate Together School in Bray, but was previously Director of Music in Sandford Park School. It was a very entertaining evening with performers from 1st to 6th Form. He gave a very good adjudication and especially praised the high standard of singing in the College. Prizes were awarded to Harry Oke Osanyitolu, Toby Green, Alexandra Murray Donaldson, Alex Russell, Andre Stokes and Songyon Oh.

Well done to everyone involved in a hugely entertaining and engaging weekend, but especially to the prize winners!

Arts Week 2019 kicked off with a morning of fun and magic tricks for Form I pupils. Magician, Jack Wise, kept them highly entertained, but also taught them a thing or two about how some of the tricks work. In teaching them, however, it became clear just what skill is involved in being able to perform convincingly.

Tuesday switched up a gear with Eunan McDonald training about 150 primary school children, from seven different schools, to perform in fabulous concert in our chapel in the afternoon. Parents of many of the primary school children came to watch and were treated to our own choirs singing as well. It is a wonderful way of encouraging singing, but also of showcasing the wonderful choral tradition at St. Columba’s. It was great to hear both St. Columba’s and the visiting primary schools singing a song from New Zealand – a tribute after recent events there.

Depending on which pupils you spoke to, there would be all sorts of different highlights from the rest of the week.

Transition Year pupils art pupils had the opportunity of visiting the Finnegans Woke Exhibition which centred around artwork as a symbol of civil resistance and the struggle for a better future. Sveva Ciofana writes on her experience here.

A first for this year was the opportunity for Transition Years and Form VI to learn new dance moves as brother and sister, Luise and Ferdinand von Waitz from Germany, taught the pupils how to jive German style with Friesenrock! Thursday night the BSR was rocking as about 50 pupils crammed in to give it a go, finishing with an informal competition for best German couple, best mixed (German and non-German) couple and best complete beginners. Congratulations to all involved! Thursday also saw the art room being taken over by print making with a fabulous teacher Debora Ando. Again, a pupil report will follow shortly.

The Guest Artist Exhibition went ahead on a stunningly sunny evening this year. Those here last year will remember we had to cancel because of the snow. We were treated to a wonderful evening with work displayed by Sarah Langham (landscapes) and William Nathans (portraits). Sarah combines painting with amazing craft skills too and, as well as her landscapes, she displayed beautiful handbags made from old kilm rugs, tweed and recycled leather. Both artists inspired us all in completely different ways, Sarah as a self-taught painter and William describing his passion for passing on what he has learned by talking through each of the works exhibited. These events for parents and friends of the Columban community are great opportunities to meet and mingle as well as to learn something new.

What a treat we had on Friday night as nineteen juniors and seniors shared the poems they had written during the workshops on Thursday and Friday. Our thanks to poet Dave Lordan whose mission is to inspire young people in the art of story-telling and performance poetry. The starting point for them all was rooted in Ancient Greece and the work of Homer. The quality of the poems written and performed was outstanding. All work was completely original and as Dave impressed upon us, it had not existed the previous day. Another pupil report will follow shortly.

Form IV and V music pupils spent Friday making and recording music using iPads. “Simply Music” introduce students to the new and emerging software used in the music industry.

Old Columban, Conrad Frankel, a painter of national and international repute, arrived on Saturday and spent the afternoon taking in all the work that had been produced for the Art Prize Competition. This year saw a new format with students being given a brief and entering the prize competition; all pieces were exhibited in the BSR. On Saturday night Conrad addressed the whole school in BSR and all listened attentively as Conrad took us through the influences that inspired his own work and then a look at his own previous and current painting. We had a great back and forth with plenty of questions from pupils before the prizes were presented. The winners of this year’s Art Prizes were: Junior Art Prize – Emma Hinde, Junior Craft Prize – Isabel Warnock, Photography Prize – Verlaine Bolger, Senior Craft Prize – Tania Stokes and the Senior Art Prize – Jeanne Levesque (her winning painting featured above).

Jonathan Browner, principal of North Wicklow Educate Together School and previous Head of Music at Sandford Park School, had the daunting task of judging our Music Prize entrants. We had a fabulous line-up of singers and a wide range of instrumentalists, from the violin to trumpet to accordion and drums. Jonathan’s feedback was appreciated by us all as he described why he had chosen each of the six winners and those who also were also given a special mention. The winners of this year’s Music Prizes were Alexandra Murray-Donaldson, Alex Russell, André Stokes, Toby Green, Harry Oke-Osanyintolu and Songyon Oh.

A big thanks to all those involved in making Arts Week such a success. Below is an album of photographs from the various events that took place.

This year’s Guest Artist Exhibition will take place on Thursday 28th March 2019 @ 6:45pm in Whitehall (the main building). The exhibition features two completely different artists and is one of the main events of the College’s annual Arts Week.

William Nathans is a classically-trained portrait painter and will be exhibiting work ranging from portraits in oils to charcoal sketches.  He will be available to take commissions on the evening.  Sarah Langham is a current Columban parent and draws her inspiration from the Irish landscape.  Her work will be for sale at the exhibition. We are fortunate to be able to showcase these artists and both of them will speak about their work on the evening.

Tickets for the exhibition are €20, including drinks and canapes, and can be paid by cheque – made out to St. Columba’s College – or, alternatively, the amount can be placed on your school account. To book your place please fill out this online form here.

All enquiries should be sent by email to Cathy Boobbyer at cboobbyer@staff.stcolumbas.ie.

Antonia Bullrich and Isabelle Townshend write short reviews on recent art gallery expeditions – the Grayson Perry exhibition at the RHA and the Emil Nolde exhibition at the National Gallery.

Last Thursday, the senior art pupils visited the RHA for the Grayson Perry exhibition. Grayson Perry is a British contemporary artist. He is known for his tapestries, vases and for cross-dressing. The exhibition is called The Vanity of Small Differences and it consists of six tapestries expressing modern life based on classical paintings. Perry is very interested in the emotional attachment we place on objects. The tapestries were hung up in a very spacious white room and each of the colors stood out individually. Each one told a story about the different social classes, and some harsh truths were depicted. As I walked around I realised each tapestry had small details that are hard to notice but they are exceptionally meaningful. When I gave each one of them a second look I noticed one or two new details I hadn’t noticed the first time around. Overall it was an amazing exhibition and we really enjoyed the day.

Last Thursday, the fifth and sixth form art pupils went to the Emil Nolde exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland. Nolde was a German expressionist and at the time (1867-1956) which an attempt to creat a new style of painting. Nolde was so daring for his use of colours and topics that he painted. His paintings have a way of speaking to you in a way that I have never experienced before. For example in his self portrait of himself his piercing blue eyes feel like they are staring into your soul. The gallery was split into five sections ranging from paintings based on his homeland to when he went travelling. The most appealing section to me was called ‘conflict’ in which he painted his view on religious events which would have been really outrageous at the time. My favourite painting has to be Nolde’s interpretation of Adam and Eve, the use of colours and form of Adam and Eve is really interesting to look at. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone.

Jeanne Levesque reports on the recent Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition in the Warden’s Garden – an Arts Week event.

In October, the Form V art class went on a trip to The Botanic Gardens, to see the “Sculpture in Context Exhibition”. Our task after this trip was to create our own exhibition in the Warden’s Garden for Arts Week 2018. Each of us had to come up with our own unique idea and create a sculpture. We had to plan our sculptures carefully, and we had to think about what materials we could use to ensure our sculptures would survive outside in rain, wind (and snow!) so in other words, Irish weather! We all had to think carefully when choosing where to place our sculptures as we had to make sure they would be visible to the people walking past the exhibition. Our trip to The Botanic Garden gave us lots of inspiration for our sculptures. For this project, each of us had to make two development A2 sheets to show how we designed our sculptures from start to finish and what challenges we faced during the project. The human form was an inspiration for many of the works. Identity was another common theme. For my project I constructed three giant rabbit heads in geometric form to hang on the garden wall. We spent almost a term on this project. It was really fun and we learned new skills and techniques that will help our future artwork.

The Music Prize Winners 2018

Arts Week finished on a high with three big events – the Poetry Slam final on Friday night, Arts Prize evening with Joy Gerrard on Saturday and on Sunday the Music Prizes with Karen Ní Bhroin.

Jasper Bark did an amazing job of revving up the second and fifth form audience to support their peers in reciting poems which varied from work by William Blake and Edgar Allen Poe to American Gangsta rap to poems that students had written themselves. All winners were decided by popular vote. There were three rounds – one for juniors and two for seniors. Oscar Sternberg won the junior section with a short rap that he had composed himself. In round one of the fifth form competition Grace Goulding won with a beautiful poem that she had written herself about her the relationship between her grandparents as her grandfather struggled with Alzheimers. Round two was won by Isabelle Townsend and Orla Conlon Batey with their brilliant performance of an American Gangsta rap. In the end it was Isabelle and Orla who came out on top as the final winners.

Saturday was another busy day with Thibault Loiez back doing more caricatures of students. All of these are now strung up across the dining hall for everyone to view! William Nathans gave a wonderful portrait drawing masterclass for senior students and parents. Everyone went away having spent a most enjoyable afternoon learning new things. Thanks to Antonia for sitting all afternoon – a few cups of coffee were needed to keep her awake!

Meanwhile Peter Watts and Derarca Cullen spent a frantic morning putting up all the artwork from the year in the BSR ready for Joy Gerrard to come and judge it in the afternoon. Joy exhibited some of her own work this time last year in the RHA in Dublin. In the evening she spoke about her journey as an artist and the work she has done from huge installations in public spaces in the UK to paintings in ink of protest crowd scenes around the world. The winners were then announced of all the various sections and were Jeanne Levesque, Nathalie Verwijs, Mona Lamotte O’Carroll, Emma Hinde and Thea Walsh.

The finale of Arts Week was a superb hour and a half of music. There were solo performances on the piano, violin, harp, clarinet and voice. It was heart warming to see the hours of practice that many had put in to reach such a superb standard. The winners were Nicole Dickerson (voice), André Stokes (violin), Tania Stokes (piano), Alex Lawrence (piano), Charlotte Klingmann (clarinet) and Emily Mc Carthy (voice)) although as Karen said she had a very tough time on selecting her final six.

All in all there was a wonderful buzz to the week with so many different things taking place and in the end it was the students themselves and their participation which made it so special. Below are the vast collection of photos from Arts Week 2018.

Yesterday Primary to Third Form had a fascinating morning with fantasy fiction writer Ruth Long (pictured with Jean our Librarian). It was a real insight into the mind of a writer and the process that a writer goes through to create a novel.

In the afternoon senior artists were treated to a visit to the Stoney Road studio in Dublin (see photos from the visit on our Facebook page here). It was a chance to observe the incredible skill involved in the print making process. Head of Art, Mr Watts is certainly now considering taking up print making in his retirement.

Today we have had both poetry workshops and electro pop workshops. Old Columban, Caroline O’ Neill, together with Cian spent the day working with a group of Fourth Form on producing their own music digitally. They shared the loops they had created at the Open Mic night. Mr Swift kicked off the evening with a song he had written followed by the talented James O’Connor also singing one of his own works.

Jasper Bark, performance poet and novelist surprised pupils in chapel with an unexpected promenade performance of one of his own poems. He went on to spend the morning first with second and then fifth form working on performing either poems they had written or ones they had chosen in preparation for the Poetry Slam competition on Friday night.

All in all a busy day.

Arts week kicked off yesterday with Thibault Loiez (former French teacher) returning to spend the afternoon doing caricatures of pupils. These will be strung up across the dining hall from tomorrow.

Sadly the opening of the Guest Artist exhibition scheduled for Monday night had to be cancelled as the snow meant no-one could get up to St Columba’s to hang the work on Thursday and Friday. We hope to put the exhibition on in May instead.

Today we had a fantastic day. Primary and First Form spent part of their morning with artist and astronomer, Deidre Kelleghan, learning more about the Apollo moon landing. Then on black paper with chalk pastels and using a couple of images as inspiration, they produced some wonderful drawings.

While this was going on we had eighty children from four primary schools arriving to take part in the Primary Schools Choral Day. They spent the day learning various everything from Shosholoza (a song in Zulu from South Africa) to a ‘mash up of some well known pop songs! The day finished with a fabulous concert featuring the visiting schools, our Junior Choir, Sine Nomine, various soloists and our male staff a capella quartet. A big thank you to Eunan MacDonald.

Our Fourth Form art students students enjoyed a workshop with one of the Stoney Road print makers.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we host fantasy author Ruth Long who will share her work with Primary, First and Second years. We have the rescheduled concert with Mr McCarthy on the piano and Mr Finn singing in the Cadogan at 6.30pm. There is also a visit for senior pupil artists to Stoney Road print studios during the afternoon.

Despite the snowy weekend which put a bit of a dampener on the start of Arts Week things have definitely revved up!

Below are a selection of photos from the week’s events, which will update frequently as new photos are added.