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Arts 29 Jul 2021

IBDP visual arts exhibition 2021: meet the artists

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, installations, videos, animation, textiles and fashion. All these art forms were on display at the IBDP visual arts exhibition when it was officially unveiled in the Lakeside atrium and Red Dot Convention Centre on 7 April 2021.

Let’s look back at how our graduates spent 18 months developing the artwork for this exhibition; the culmination of so much hard work throughout their two-year IBDP (Diploma Programme).

Byn Barnard, MYP/DP visual arts teacher, says, "I am always impressed by what the visual arts students produce for exhibition. This cohort exemplifies the IB Learner Profile in many ways. They are open-minded to new ideas, they take risks with challenging techniques, they have become knowledgeable in the manipulation of new media, they support and help one another, and they learn from their mistakes."

We spoke with some of the artists about their work.


Candice M | Artwork name: Possessions

IBDP visual arts exhibition, grade 12, international schools in Singapore, secondary schools in Singapore, sculptures, painting, abstract art, IBDP, diploma programme

Tell us about your artwork.
My artwork is inspired by Kintsugi, the art of using old and broken items by making it something new and beautiful. Clothing scraps are usually seen as trash, unwanted and discarded so I decided to use them in a large wall piece. The top part of the wall piece shows movement, which guides the viewer's eyes down to the chaotic combination of ‘trash’ below. I used bright colours to highlight the small discarded pieces on the dark denim surface.

Any challenges or memorable moments? How did you overcome them?
It was fun to assemble the wall piece. The cloth scraps were colourful and came in different textures so I had a great time using my creativity. I placed the scraps all over and added strings etc. In the beginning, I had problems attaching the scraps because some glues couldn’t hold the denim scraps in place due to their thickness.

Are you happy with your work?
I am very happy with my work and where it was placed in the exhibition. In fact, it turned out better than I expected. It looked abstract and organic due to the different shapes and placement of each piece. I also hung the wall piece so it looks like a piece of cowhide being displayed, which tied in with the nature-related artwork around it.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank all the art teachers who motivated and supported me, especially Ms McGifford. She gave me many tips and helped me with all my artwork. She was able to see my perspective on each artwork, and understand my skills and abilities. She also challenged me in many ways so I can create the best artwork possible.


Utae K | Artwork name: Kingyo

IBDP visual arts exhibition, grade 12, international schools in Singapore, secondary schools in Singapore, sculptures, painting, abstract art, IBDP, diploma programme

Tell us about your artwork
The work is an oil on canvas and utilises epoxy resin on top. It shows my childhood memory in Japan, where my friend and I are trying to capture a goldfish in a pond. The artist Abram Arkhipov is the inspiration for the rich tonal range of red colours, while the use of thick layers of paints for rough texture in the goldfish is inspired by artist Lucian Freud.

Any challenges or memorable moments? How did you overcome them?
As I poured the epoxy resin, it led to discoloration and creation of wrinkles on the surface. Thus, I had to pour around five times in hopes that the surface would smoothen out. It didn’t solve the issue so I decided to change my perspective instead. I decided to use the ‘flaws’ as part of my art so I used the yellow discoloration as a sepia effect to reflect the ‘old memory’ aspect of my artwork and the wrinkles to show movement of water.

Are you happy with your work?
Overall I am quite happy with my work as it turned out to be an interesting piece despite the challenges I faced. Also, it is the most memorable since it is the first work I made in DP with so many changes on the way. I think I can do better by perhaps giving the epoxy resin more time to harden since it was slowly dripping down during the exhibition too.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank Mr Barnard and my friends Hana Y, Natasha N, and Sanya A for their support.


Hana Y | Artwork name: Ephemeral

IBDP visual arts exhibition, grade 12, international schools in Singapore, secondary schools in Singapore, sculptures, painting, abstract art, IBDP, diploma programme

Tell us about your artwork.
The artwork was created by putting photographs and a painting in a digital collage. I made the work look whimsical and abstract by using pastel colours as inspired by Ian Francis. I hope to convey my memories of Japan, my home country, fading away due to them being overwritten by the memories in Singapore. This is represented by the wave covering the fireworks and the young girl, my younger self, looking down at the ground. I implied my memories in Japan as fireworks to further emphasise the ephemeral beauty of memories, and to convey my experience of going to a firework festival.

Any challenges or memorable moments? How did you overcome them?
Initially, I was planning to print out the photographs and paint on them. However, due to some challenges I faced such as the printed photos having issues with colours and their overall quality, I decided to make the artwork digital. Although this was an unexpected change, I was able to overcome the challenge.

Are you happy with your work?
Overall, I am satisfied with the work. Although I was planning to paint after printing out the photos, I think it was a success changing the medium to digital. The colours showed up better when it was done digitally and I was able to edit the work more freely.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank Mr.Barnard, my family and friends for supporting me with the art exhibition.


Anandhi A | Artwork name: Cleansing

IBDP visual arts exhibition, grade 12, international schools in Singapore, secondary schools in Singapore, sculptures, painting, abstract art, IBDP, diploma programme

Tell us about your artwork.
The work titled "Cleansing" is a ceramics work that focuses on the desperation of familial comfort as you grow older. This work is quite personal to me. I am going through very quick changes from being a young teenager to going off to college and becoming an adult. The idea of these changes always felt very distant to me, and only recently have I become more aware of its fast coming nature. Simultaneously, it was serendipitous that I began listening to the song “Class of 2013”—an alternative/indie song by Japanese-American music artist Mitski. It acted as one of my inspirations for the message I was trying to convey. In fact, I got the visual concept for my work from the third verse of the song:

“Mom, I'm tired

Can I sleep in your house tonight?

Mom, is it alright

If I stay for a year or two?

Mom, I'll be quiet

It would be just to sleep at night

And I'll leave once I figure out

How to pay for my own life too

Mom, would you wash my back?

This once, and then we can forget

And I'll leave what I'm chasing

For the other girls to pursue

Mom, am I still young?

Can I dream for a few months more?”

Any challenges or memorable moments? How did you overcome them?
The making of the figure was difficult for me. I am not very skilled in anatomical proportions in clay and had no experience in creating posed bodies before this. My initial sketches for this process included the making of two figures but I had to adapt it when I realised that the addition of the external figure does not effectively communicate the emotions of sadness and loneliness I wanted to convey. That’s why my sculpture only included the tub and the figure within.

Are you happy with your work?
I am incredibly happy with my work and its outcome. I wouldn't change a thing

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank my visual arts teacher Ms McGifford for helping me throughout my entire DP art course.


Pwint Phyu T | Artwork name: Near-death / Pulse / Sensation of Wound Healing / Historic Recurrence / Same But Different / Choices Made / Hell and Heaven

IBDP visual arts exhibition, grade 12, international schools in Singapore, secondary schools in Singapore, sculptures, painting, abstract art, IBDP, diploma programme

Tell us about your artwork.
I created a series of artworks. Here are a few of my pieces:

Near-death aims to express the life of living on the edge. It is influenced by Malcolm T. Liepke, an artist known for capturing emotions in his oil paintings. The fragile string on the left that prevents the person from falling into the unknown danger represents positive things in life that potentially motivates an individual to continue living, emphasising the collapsed emotion hidden underneath the surface. Expressive brushstrokes create movement and enhance a negative mood.

Pulse is a 31-second animation that is influenced by the artist 456. It’s a series of still images with minimal changes between each scene. The work is inspired by my personal experiences and is intended to reveal negative emotions hidden or neglected by individuals. The tempo resembles the pace of heartbeat, purposefully adjusted to make the viewers feel uncomfortable and connect to the emotion conveyed within the work. I used a minimum amount of colour and negative space to enhance the illustration of subjects..

Historic Recurrence is a mixed media piece that uses canvas, hot glue, aluminum foil, nails, staples, paper mesh, threads, and acrylic paint. It’s intended to represent repetition of history where everything seems to have a meaningful purpose but at the end of the day, history and society repeat themselves. Things that occurred in the past are now happening in society again. The present that seems important is only a part of life and a small change compared to the universe. The sculpture is suspended in the air to allow viewers to see every component of the artwork at a glance from an omniscient point of view.

Choices Made is a conceptual artwork influenced by Marcel Duchamp. It conveys the concept of choice between social integration and maintaining self (ie personal choice, interest, dreams)—how they can be simultaneously present or contradict each other depending on various matters. I created clouds that drift with the wind, which is similar to people influenced by changes in society and surroundings whereas buttons connect one another and symbolise the decision we make in life.

Any challenges or memorable moments? How did you overcome them?
The most memorable moment is when I see all the art students gathering in the art room to finalise their artwork and set up the exhibition space. I got more excited as we counted down to the exhibition night as well.

Are you happy with your work?
Yes, I am happy with my work but some improvements could be made to certain pieces to increase the level of detail for a few components. For instance, the range of shade for the shadow in Choice Made could have a higher contrast so it has a better focal point to attract audiences at first glance.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank Ms Janet McGifford, Mr Bryn Barnard, Ms Tanya Volschenk.


Natasha A | Artwork name: 7 Frames

IBDP visual arts exhibition, grade 12, international schools in Singapore, secondary schools in Singapore, sculptures, painting, abstract art, IBDP, diploma programme

Tell us about your artwork.
The 7 Frames are representative of the seven months during the Covid-19 pandemic when I spent during Singapore’s circuit breaker. Despite the limitations and setbacks caused by the pandemic, our society’s growth and ability to cope are a reflection of the advanced rawness of intuition. The bottom and darkest layer of the piece is reflective of the initial stage of unfamiliarity and the abstract composition of the acrylic pieces is to reflect creativity and exploration. These raw intuitions come from desperation for the better.

It is made from acrylic paint on acetate, which I painted myself and cut by hand. They are then glued onto seven frames and assembled using screws. The arrangement of the acrylic pieces is according to their size and colour value. I wanted the piece to have depth, as it adds complexity to the perception of the piece.

Any challenges or memorable moments? How did you overcome them?
Throughout the DP course, there were a lot of limitations with timing and accessibility to materials and tools I needed to create my artwork. Due to Covid-19, there were a lot of limitations to materials and tools. I’m more of an artist who likes to work with physical materials so photography and digital artworks didn’t really appeal to me. I’m just glad that I was able to efficiently make use of my time at school to make my artworks.

I also really enjoyed visual arts as a subject, as it’s really different from the other IB subjects. I got to do more hands-on projects than theory work and it really helped me reduce stress through expressing my creativity during the weeks when I had a heavy summative workload.

Are you happy with your artwork?
Yes, I love my artwork, I feel that it really reflects my creative side, and it also delivers the message I want it to. It is an artwork that I'm proud to display and share with everyone.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
Ms McGifford has been teaching me for the past five years, and I really want to thank her for all the help and guidance she has given me throughout DP and even MYP. She has helped me develop my art skill and discover my own style, and I have learned so much from her. She is not only a teacher to me, but she is also a friend. I am really grateful to have been her student.

Want to see more photos of our students’ artwork? Then pop by our Facebook page to check them out!

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