My A Level Exhibition : Personal Review

May 26, 2016

I couldn't bring myself to actually accept it to be it. The end of my compulsory education. It did come as a shock but I knew this day would finally come. My last actual day in lessons was over three weeks ago, but because this is the last thing I will actually do at this school, I’m classing this as my last ever day. 


The exhibition, generously named by my teacher as a “Celebration of their Work” is showcasing work from Year 11 to Year 13. Three exam years in one place. That is one hell of a lot of work. All of the work, placed in one area, creates for a visual overload. From the best to the worst, the incredible efforts of nearly 30 different artists is incredible. 


When we started to put my art up, we were tight for space. So many people had created so much work it was amazing to see all the efforts in one place. I found space to place all my pieces, for both modules, Coursework and Exam work. My projects really captured what I was trying to get across from day one. For my Art, I titled each topic underneath what I had been given. 


The coursework topic had been given to me, titled Metamorphosis and Prosthesis, but I further took that title and called my collective work “Integrated Fusion”. Through naming it “Integrated Fusion”, its title name further explains what makes this series of paintings so special. For my coursework module, I looked at the multiculturalism in the UAE, but mainly focusing it on the nationalities in the school. During this topic, I captured Ghana, France, Japan, Bahrain, Nigeria, Trinidad, South Africa, Holland, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, South Korea, England. And that was the least I could actually photograph. I could have gone on with this project. I loved it. I adored studying the build of the face, from all countries. Really taking into account what gave everyone their unique characteristics. I then went on to create a conceptual piece which is the jigsaw. The idea behind this piece was to incorporate the two girls I painted, and make a piece which was able to be used by the public. The jigsaw pieces where attached to a back wall using ultra strong velcro, meaning that pieces can be taken out and placed in the corresponding area on the other jigsaw. However, on my website, I have named the series with these paintings in, “Expressive Life”, because that is also what I was looking at in my style, Expressionistic and Impressionistic paintings.


The second topic that I had been given was Fantasy Fiction and Truth. Again, I took this title and further called it “Attack on Colour”. This project, I dived face first into the word truth, hoping to unveil the nasty, dark nature of the control and vice like grip social media has on the human race. For this project, I broke it into two. I looked at anonymous and identified portraiture. The identified portraiture really came from me wanting to show that there are so many people out there that use social media, display their lives on the web, but are being taken down. The nature of 6 a3 paintings really was to showcase how it can effect a variety of people, on surface level or deep underneath. I found that they gained acclaim from viewers, stating that they were pieces passing on a clear message which was moving. The final outcome of this topic was a canvas painting. The painting was completed in 12 hours in oils. The painting depicts two faceless models (myself and a friend) wrapped up with bandages around our faces to remove our identities. The message I'm trying to get across from this piece was that the removed identity is to exemplify, underneath the colour, that the overwhelming power of social media is removing the individuality of people in this day and age. The hands in this painting where encased in string which was wrapped around the hands, showing the caged nature of the grasp and control. Three small cast hands were included in the display, two of which where together in a black casing. They were surrounded with coloured string, with the 4 main colours that I kept as a running theme; Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. The third was a plain hand cast, just holding a paintbrush. The grip on the paintbrush really just displays how desperate the person is holding onto “snippet of their personality”.


For my photography, I took it upon myself to really challenge myself with my work and explore a variety of ideas and places to create piece which made my work stand out against my fellow students.


When I started year 13, I had not been given a project for photography. I was left to explored freely whatever I wished to explore. For my module course, I chose to look at the unseen aspects of my current home, The UAE. This topic I called “The Unseen UAE”, displayed in my Photography Gallery. The Emirates only recently became the super power we all know it to be today. The three aspects of the Emirates which I explored in minimal amount of time was “Fish Market”, “Endurance Race”, “Village”. I had intended on looking at areas and aspects of the UAE which are unseen by most foreign expats and maybe even city dwelling Emirati's. The first place I looked at was the fish market. However, many foreigners know of the fish market. They know its down at Mina Port and they know its a busy occasion when the sale happens. I wanted to capture the Fish Market at a time which no other Expats would expect the market to be alive and buzzing. The Fish Market is alive on most Friday and Saturday mornings. But not the expected time. Every week, new catch is brought in early in the morning. I went down to Mina Port in Abu Dhabi at 2 am to capture the fish being taken off the boats early in the morning. I found that this really set my photographs above what I had ever intended on. The dark surroundings and very select lighting meant that the overall colour and drama in the images left strong messages behind in the portraits the fishermen. They were the first photos, which really sparked my ambition to capture the best aspects of the unseen. The second aspect I explored was the Endurance Races. The Emirates is well known for horse racing. They know that horses are valuable and Endurance Races have been around for an extremely long time. They have modernised it slightly but the tradition is there and has been for years. I went to Al Wathba race course near Al Ain and became lost. I became lost in the excitement and lost in the adrenaline. Sand, Sweat and Excitement set the race track alive, for those racing and those following. The madness of the race, even though this was not as famous as a race at Godolfin in Dubai, was being filmed by Dubai TV, filmed on drones from above. The third and final place I visited on my trip around the Emirates was a private village in a Northern Emirate. I wanted to go up north and see the untouched nature of life which is away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The relaxed nature that I saw was an aspect that I immediately fell in love with. I wanted to stay in the village for longer. It was early in the morning. Little was happening. A few people were out, opening shops, going for morning walks. The complete silence which reigned over the village allowed for the calm and infectious life to be wished for, with out our modern world in every corner, watching over like a spectre. With all of these photos, I chose the best selection, printed several very large and then added them to a book to display as many images as I could.


The exam topic was given to me early in February. I was also given Fantasy, Fiction and Truth as my topic, like I had been given for Art. This meant that I had to look at two completely different topics and ensure that they had nothing in common with each other. For photography, I chose to look at fantasy. My intention for this topic was to show a lost era of life, childhood fantasy and play. With iPads and iPhones being given to young children to keep them quiet and stop them for pestering their parents, they are loosing creativity and playtime, which in my opinion, is ruining their childhoods. I wanted to capture aspects of childhood which are dying out, such as dress up and playing with friends other than watching TV together. For this project, I chose to ask my sister and her two best friends to live like real children for a day. This allowed me to photograph three aspects of play which are dying out. There where three photo sets which included the three girls. Those where “Tea Party” and “Dress Up”. The dress up series looked at halloween style dressing up, mainly focused in on china doll inspired photos. These photos where taken in a setting which meant that they are the only posed images out of everything I photographed during both projects. The Tea Party was ultimately inspired by games I played as a youngster. I was slightly obsessed with tea parties and constantly played them with my toys, setting them around in a semi circle with tea cups and fake cakes. The girls had not played tea-parties for an extremely long time, which came to a shock to me. I was amazed that a group of 8 year olds had not played such a game in a long time. So I let them play tea party and I asked them to ignore me. Everything I photographed was not posed but only captured. The smiles and laughter I captured was completely from them. I didn't not ask them to laugh, smile, pretend to enjoy it. But they so happened to do so anyway. The third series only captured two of the girls, doing cartwheels and playing around. Again these images where unstated and anything captured was coincidental. Some of the photos from the Cartwheel series were used in the final piece, which is the “Lost Innocence Video”


In all, my series’ have helped me grow in my art, my photography and creations. My imagination has expanded and I cannot help but think so openly now. I have few regrets from my projects, yet I have one. I feel that I missed out an opportunity to create more paintings for my Art Module 1. But what can I do now? Nothing. So I am not dwelling on a mistake, but I am taking it on in my stride to ensure that I can create more projects which don't miss out on anything. 


So that is my A Level life done. A little bit scary but mostly exciting. Heres to more projects and challenges. 



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