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Learning Co-ordinator, Emily Hedley, tells us about working with In the Realm of the Unmentionable in this week's blog.  

As Start at Jerwood Gallery continues into its 3rd year, we welcome St Leonards Academy, Christ Church, Silverdale and Guestling Bradshaw to the programme. Last term many of the schools chose to work with Drawn Together: Artist as Selector, a diverse exhibition showcasing works from the artists who have selected the winners of the Jerwood Drawing Prize over the past 20 years and Quentin Blake: Artists on the Beach.

The Chapman brothers exhibition, In the Realm of the Unmentionable, has been a really interesting show to work with. I was a little apprehensive at first, as they are well known for producing challenging art. Introducing children and young people to work of this nature can be tricky, especially if they are new to contemporary art. Also not knowing how their parents may feel about the work in the show has to be considered, so all the teachers were invited to preview the show prior to their school visit and all parents were notified of the content.

The lowered ceiling in room 2 is one of my favourite works in the show and it instantly engaged the students. Entering the room laughing, they are confronted by a small painting at the back of the room signed A. Hitler. The response was amazing. The students were extremely vocal and expressed their feelings towards the installation. Most would have sat there for hours discussing what they thought it meant.

One student from Helenswood Academy asked, ‘Is there a real answer or is it all just assumptions?’. What is fantastic about the Chapman’s work is that they never explain the content of their art which means it can be discussed and questioned endlessly.

This show has been so inspirational and an amazing opportunity for the students, as it has given them the chance to see the work of international artists from their hometown, in their hometown. When asked if they expected to see anything like this in Hastings one student said, ‘It’s Hastings, so it’s always kinda weird’.

08 January, 2015
Written by Emily Hedley