Christel House South Africa, a non-profit no-fee school in Ottery (Cape Town), has partnered with Iziko Museums for a virtual art exhibition to showcase the unique talents, culture, lived experiences and heritage of its students living on the Cape Flats. The exhibition is entitled ‘Through our eyes: A virtual glimpse into the lives of the youth of Christel House South Africa’ and is in line with national Heritage Week, celebrated from 20-24 September.
The virtual exhibition is in the form of a 5-minute video clip available on the Iziko Museum’s website. The showcase includes 45 artworks from current and past high school art students at Christel House, as well as three musical items performed live by the school’s music students. The medium of the art pieces range from acrylic on canvas and chalk pastel to Lino print and pen drawings.
Storm, a Grade 12 student at Christel House, has a passion for art and would like to pursue a career in the creative industry. He said, “I really enjoy art because it gives me a platform to express myself and show my emotions on paper. Art makes me feel free.”
Matthew, a Grade 10 student, added: “Art is my passion, that’s why I love it. It takes me to a different world, where there is only good. The bad is dimmed away”.
The unique exhibition was curated by Vivienne Stewart, Art Teacher at Christel House, who was instrumental in launching the art department at the school in 2010 and grew the number of art students year on year. She noted, “What a great opportunity and a privilege to be able to showcase our students’ art via the Iziko Museum. I am absolutely thrilled about the collaboration. It is amazing that the student's work will be exposed to a wider audience. Often there is a bit of an imbalance in the focus of subjects being offered at school. Not every student leans toward Science or Mathematics. The Arts tend to be overlooked. Studying art brings out one's creativity, self-expression and in some cases self-healing. Art breaks down barriers and unites students of all languages and cultures”.
Christel House serves more than 1000 students from 26 communities on the Cape Flats through a full sponsored, holistic education program from Grade RR to Grade 12, including daily transport to school and back, professional health care, nutritious meals, psychosocial counselling, family assistance and college and careers support up until five years post school. Currently, two of its students are studying Fine Art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, and two are studying Film at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.