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GALLERY: Global issues influence art students

GALLERY: Global issues influence art students

Thursday 24 June 2021

GALLERY: Global issues influence art students

A new exhibition of artwork by 40 Highlands students is inviting islanders to reflect on global issues ranging from Black Lives Matter to male empowerment, child abuse, the environment, and the LGBTQ+ community.

The annual student art exhibition concludes tomorrow at 14:00.

It brings together work from students on the Level 2 and 3 as well as the Foundation courses from the School of Art and Media Departments.

In total, 40 students aged 16 to 58 are presenting their work ranging from graphic design and digital art, to fine art, textiles and collages.

“We cover all the rainbow,” PJ Thompson, the head of Art and Design, said. 

After students were prevented from exhibiting their work in 2020, Peter said the staff was determined to “push the celebration” this year.

The whole college has been decorated with the students’ creations and the studios have been opened to visitors. 

“It gives people an opportunity to the see the background work, the experimentation that goes on and that you might not in the final exhibition,” he said. “People enjoy being in the classroom because it’s very inspiring to see where people work in a group and the space we have created.” 

Meanwhile, some of the work will also be on display at Jersey Arts Centre later this summer in an effort to make it more accessible to the community. 

This year, Peter said students had explored new themes with their work. “Mindfulness or mental health is a big theme for them,” he said.


Pictured: PJ Thompson said the students' work is more "politicised" and conscious of global issues this year.

“This year, their work is a lot more politicised, a lot more self-conscious. There are things about the male gaze, male empowerment, child abuse, the environment, the LGBTQ cause, disability… The majority of their work has been about looking outwards, there is more of a global consciousness. These kids just have their own point of view. 

“One student's body of work is about anti-Asian racism, looking at their cultures and the racism they received. 

“The work is definitely more global. There was so much in the media about MeToo, Black Lives Matter, about being woke and wokeness. Kids are aware of all of this, being off college and at home, all they had was media and social media to entertain them and they became more aware of global issues.”

Peter explained the art school tries to promote more inclusivity and a more outward look with students and he welcomed how they used their creativity as a vehicle to communicate on different issues. 

“Big up to these kids for having an idea and their own style and having their own pathway and looking where they are going with their artwork,” he said.


Pictured: Lady Dalton and Jo Terry-Marchant, the Principal of Highlands College, discovering the students' work.

In addition to exploring new themes, students have also been using different materials in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them turned to “more simplistic materials” and tried to be more “resourceful” by recycling or reappropriating materials in an effort to be mindful of the environment. 

As is the case every year, the staff felt very proud to see the show all together Peter said.

“We are a little bit nose blind to it all because we are so involved, when you see it all up and you come back for the exhibition it’s great,” he said. 

“The strength of the show is the variety and the individuality, it’s very natural, it’s not contrived, there is a lot of integrity in their work, they are not trying to please bigger people, they are doing it for themselves and this is lovely.”

GALLERY: A look at the exhibition...

(Photographs courtesy of Gary Grimshaw) 

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