“My favourite part of the project was making the bodies of the sculptures.” – Max, a student at Bradfields Academy in Kent, England.
Arts charity Create has given students from Bradfields Academy in Kent (a school is for young people with complex learning difficulties) a full week of art workshops with professional artist Daniel Wallis.
During the week the students made several Antony Gormley-inspired large figure sculptures with wire, plastics, and paint which are being used to decorate the green spaces surrounding the school.
Describing the process, Max, a student at Bradfields Academy, said,”First we drew what we wanted the sculptures to look like then we used wire to shape them. We filled the structures with newspaper to create volume, used more wire around this, then wrapped them with Clingfilm after removing the newspaper so we were left with transparent figure sculptures. After this, we decorated the Clingfilm with colour and patterns which I thought gave them a really nice effect. The sculpture that I worked on was reading a book so I decided to decorate the figure with letters.
“It has been really good to have a professional artist come in and teach us new skills. It feels like we’re learning something extra, something from outside of school. I’ve never had the chance to do something like this before. And I definitely feel a lot closer to the other people that took part in the workshops. I would jump at the chance to do something like this again, I would love it if we could make some more sculptures! I would actually like to be an artist when I get older, maybe sell my art or give it to museums, so these workshops have given me a push in the right direction.”
The young people taking part wanted the four characters to represent a particular value. The figure reading the books represents education and learning, the figures on the bench communicate friendship and community and the figure picking up the flower represents respect for nature.
Disabled young people are still much less likely to access arts activities because of barriers including low-income (it costs three times more to raise a disabled child), transport, and assumptions of what they can and can’t do. It’s part of Create’s initiative to take professional artists into SEN schools across the UK to enable young disabled people to collaboratively produce creative work. Through taking part in the arts and working together, these young people form friendships, express themselves and feel pride in their abilities.
Find out more about the work Create do by visiting their website.