"Proud to be me," "I love my country" and "I love my community" were the messages inscribed on posters and blackboards by children of the Hockett Baptist Primary School in Morvant at their first-ever art exhibition.
Using various media such as crayons, watercolours, colour pencils, plasticine and markers, the pupils got the opportunity to reveal their inner Picasso as they drew flowers, animals and various places in their community. The exhibition last Thursday showcased work from children five to 14 years. The theme was "Proud to be me".
Petra Bompart, a teacher at the school and co-ordinator of the art exhibition, said, "The overall objective of this exhibition is to broaden the children's experience in the area of art and craft. To ignite the possibilities that art holds and to maybe, someday, produce future artists.
"The ministry has definitely decided that they would like to include visual and performing arts subjects to be tested at the SEA (Secondary Entrance Assessment) level, so in an effort to help our students, we have decided that we really like to bring art on stream and get teachers more comfortable with it, expose the children to all the work and the different ways art can be presented, like drawings, pencil, fine art, collages, weaving, tile-drawing, batik and photography, so we try to squeeze in as much as we can."
According to Bompart, for the past four weeks, the children had an opportunity to work alongside top local artists such as Jackie Hinkson, James Armstrong, Patricia Frederick and Abigail Hadeed, who took them through an introductory course of art and craft.
Last Thursday, the Express spoke to some of the children to find out their thoughts on the experience. Many of them were so excited, they rushed up to Express photographer Stephen Doobay to show off their drawings, dreamcatchers and paintings, displayed on the ground floor and second level of the school.
Makada Byer, ten, said, "It was exciting to learn something new. I found it very interesting being able to work with all the different materials. My favourite part was being able to paint our favourite flowers."
Jeriah Mitchell, 11, said, "I thought art would be hard but it's not. I realise you should try something even though you think it is hard because you might see that you are good at it."
Bompart said, "Every term, we plan to do this for the kids. It is more than just them getting a few paints and doing some drawings; they get to learn about various artists and their work and how it has impacted on everything we see today. The children also studied work from Andy Warhol and Louis Nevelson."
According to Bompart, for the children that do come to school, the chances of them going to an art gallery and taking in an exhibition are rather unlikely, however, she hopes that through this, pupils and parents would get that feeling of an art gallery but in a setting that is less intimidating.