With September comes the new school year, and what better time is there than now to remember the works of incredible student artists. Last year, students from the Regional Arts Program at Cawthra Park Secondary were invited into the old Small Arms Inspection Building for a workshop with Artist Jane Mothersell, who gave them the task of capturing the incredible space in her Wabi Sabi painting workshop. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that asks one to reveal the wisdom of flawed beauty. . From the frames of a broken window against jagged glass and splinters of rot on an ancient wooden board, to the colour of the light filtered through dust-filled air, the students worked to capture the damaged, yet beautiful nature of the dilapidated Small Arms Inspection Building.
Heather Snell, Director and Board Member of SAS reflected that “Jane inspired students to look for and to see the beauty in decay, and to find beauty in imperfection. This was the perfect approach to painting the SAB in its glorious decay. I think the students captured the quality of light in the space exceptionally well; it is as if the light is searching through the space… exploring and revealing past mysteries and stories of the people who once worked here.” Heather also noted the leadership and inspiration of Don Ball Head of Visual Arts at Cawthra Park and teacher Susanne Robinson, and the guidance of artist Jane Mothersell who supported the young artists in ”teaching them how to see the world a little differently.”
The paintings created by these Grade 11 artists truly embody the essence of the Small Arms Building as it was, cracking at the seams in disrepair. Part of the profits generated by In Situ have been used to establish an Art Legacy fund – which the SAS Board hopes will be used to build a collection of works about the Small Arms Building or created by artists working in the space . Thanks to the generosity of In Situ participants and sponsors, SAS has purchased the entire class set of Wabi Sabi paintings. – a wonderful first addition to our Art Legacy collection. All 32 paintings will be displayed in the building once it has reopened - reminding us always of the building as it sat awaiting new inhabitants and ideas.
Picture credits go to Voitek Pendrak from Faulty Pixel; more from him here. Artwork by the Cawthra student artists can be found in our gallery here. To join our mailing list for more information on similar events, subscribe to our newsletter here.