Portsmouth schoolchildren create art exhibition at Aspex Gallery reflecting on missing their loved ones during lockdown

REFLECTING on loved ones who have been sorely missed during lockdown was the inspiration behind a new exhibition by Portsmouth pupils.

A display featured at Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays shows an array of painted and collaged birds created by pupils from The Harbour School in Portsmouth.

The colourful creations are all ‘tweeting’ a message to someone the artist has missed during lockdown.

Ashling McNamara, The Harbour School’s culture capital curriculum lead, has co-ordinated the project.

A new exhibition of work at Aspex Gallery by pupils from the Harbour School in Portsmouth features painted and collaged birds ‘tweeting’ a message to someone they have missed during lockdown

Inspired by the Great British Bird Watch, the aim was to promote pupils’ interest in the natural world and inspire them to explore different artistic techniques as a way to connect with missed loved ones during lockdown, both this year and last.

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Gail Grove, support staff at the school, said: ‘I enjoyed the project and the invitation to be part of the class taking an active part in the painting.

‘The tweeting bird song made me think of my sister, who I lost to cancer, as this was the sound she last heard as she slipped away from us.’

The entire display of work by pupils which can be seen at Aspex

As an alternative provision and special school, the Harbour School provides education for pupils who are unable to attend mainstream schools, for reasons relating to social, emotional and mental health or medical needs.

The school exists to help pupils gain a sense of belonging and allows them to develop and improve not only their academic skills, but their social and emotional skills too.

Both pupils and staff alike have enjoyed Tweeting Birds and how working towards a visual art piece has brought them together.

One of the creations and messages by a pupil at The Harbour School

One of the pupils said: ‘Loved the project. I would definitely do it again. The project made me think about nature and the wildlife around me, as well as family I have missed in lockdown.

‘I like the idea that I am now going to be an artist with work in a gallery, too.’

A classmate added: ‘Amazing project, it was calming to paint with watercolours. I enjoyed all of it.’

The exhibition is on display to the public until July 18 at Aspex, which works to engage all ages with visual art through exhibitions, off-site projects and participation events.

This runs alongside a photography exhibition from pupils at The Harbour School, which is on view at Portsmouth Central Library in Guildhall Walk until July 15.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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