The only thing wrong with the Oakhill 2011 Matric Art Exhibition was that it was up for only three days.
The nine art students produced a vast number of paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, videos and installations – the latter included an upside-down desk suspended from the ceiling.
Exploring the concept of a stranger in the village, the work gave insight into the views and emotions of teenagers on the cusp of post-school freedom. The artists examined themes of isolation and belonging, vulnerability, frustration – and fear of marriage, birds and maths.
Mitchell Sohn was awarded the Pierre Dingley award for the highest art practical mark, and Jessica Kilian received the Trent Read trophy for passion and commitment to art.
Opening the exhibition, Knysna gallery owner and art dealer Trent Read said it was statistically impossible for a school’s art students to produce above-average work year after year. That Oakhill had achieved this yet again was a tribute to its art teacher, Amy Nuttall.
There were faces, familiar and unfamiliar, Oakhill past and Oakhill present and what a privilege to share the talents of Oakhill’s artists with those who came to look.
I stepped into the exhibiting space eager for yet another Oakhill art experience and two and a half hours later, I stepped out exhilarated and charged and with a deep sense of pride at the quality of the exhibits of the 2011 Matric art students.
Seeing is believing!
I marvelled at the magnitude of talent as I wandered from room to room. I wondered at their creativity, their individuality, their diligence, hours and hours of passionate workmanship.
There is no doubt that there is an abundance of joy and creation in the Studio at Oakhill. One only has to step across the threshold to realise the passion and the worth of the teacher and the exuberance of her students. She funnels their artistic energies, she guides their glow to become masters of self and personal confidence.
As Emily Stephenson salutes you, so do I, Amy Nuttall. You drive the art at Oakhill to amazing challenging levels.
You’re allowed to smile for my camera!