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Beyond Plastic Exhibition

Beyond Plastic art exhibition at the Minories Gallery, Colchester.

In the summer term of 2019, one of our governors – Miss Jeni – approached us with the opportunity to take part in an exhibition which was to be held at the beautiful Minories Gallery in Colchester. The exhibition, which comprised artists and school students, was based on plastic pollution in the sea. Children in Fox Class were studying ‘Coasts’ as their topic for the summer term so it seemed too good of an opportunity to miss. 

Fox class children made hand stitched fish and attached small pieces of recycled materials. The fish were then ‘captured’ inside plastic rubbish to demonstrate the effect of plastic pollution on sea life. They also experimented with making books out of recycled plastics, but these did not go into the final exhibition. The children made a large collaborative woven wall hanging using old plastic bags and fruit nets. Shells and small sewn fish were then attached to the weaving using wire. They also made individual small weavings but it was also agreed that these would not go into the final exhibition.

Miss Jeni’s daughter, artist, photographer and art teacher Alice Finbow, visited our school for a day and worked with each of the classes in turn. She brought with her a very large selection of finds from beach combing, both natural and manmade. The children took a large piece of brown, white, cream or black paper and a selection of found objects. They used the objects to arrange faces on the paper, moving and adjusting as they saw fit – these were not to be stuck down. Alice then took photographs of each face. She later edited some of the images into two large posters for the exhibition and a selection for close up square portraits to also hang in the exhibition. The children and adults loved this simple yet powerful task which suited all ages and abilities. We particularly remarked at how inclusive the art project was – children with profound special educational needs could easily access and gain pleasure from this face-making task. Art really is a ‘level playing field’.

Children at the all-age Writing Club wrote poems based on plastic sea pollution, of which a small selection were chosen, typed up and laminated for the exhibition. 

Miss Jeni very kindly went to the gallery at the end of July and hung the exhibition which was then on display to the public for the month of August. Once the exhibition ended, we transferred it to the school where it was re-hung in the library and communal areas for everyone to enjoy.