1 December 2023
As the end of yet another brim-full school year approaches, we would do well to look back and reflect on the year of 2023. There is much for which to be grateful.
Personally, I am thankful to have the privilege and honour of working with an amazing team of people, every single one an essential link in the woven net that carries the important cargo of our future. When I think of my colleagues, I cannot but help to be awestruck by the incredible strength hidden beneath the selfless, caring heart of the school staff. Additionally, I am incredibly grateful for a supportive parent body, and for the equally selfless parents who can be relied upon to help to take the ordinary school day to extraordinary levels throughout the year.
I am grateful that each day is filled with laughter, wonder, precious smiles, and ‘joie de vivre’ at all that life has to offer. What a privilege it is to experience life through the eyes of children every day!
With the thought of gratitude and appreciation in mind and heart, this week I set off to see what the rest of the school community had to say. Read what some of our students and teachers had to say below. It was a heart-warming exercise and is highly recommended as a family activity.
Cris Sanchez Black
Gratitude thoughts from our students and teachers
I am thankful for having a nice teacher. – Eun Ho, Year 6
I am grateful for grace and intention at the school. – Lisa, Year 10
Lots of new people have joined the school. And the aircon. – Rabia, Year 7
Getting a good education. – Nini, Year 6
Outings to Intaka Island and the local library. – Bjorn, Year 7
All the teachers and friends. – Holly, Year 3
My teacher. – Giorgia, Year 1 (A sentiment echoed by many)
My teachers and my principal and being a flag raiser. -Blessing, Year 6
Maths. – Lipathe, Year 3 (Not widely recognised as a blessing)
Playing with my friends in the new playground. – Hannah, Year 2
The friends I have made along the way – high school friends are very different to primary school friends. And the wellness day. – Jemma, Year 8
My teacher who understands everyone. – Ava S., Year 6
Miss Fraser, new friends, the Peter Pan production, being a bell ringer. Caleb, Year 6
Writing sentences. – Munrow, Year 2
The friends I’ve made. I’m grateful to be moving on to Year 9. – Karabo, Year 8
A lot! Nice teachers, nice environment, playing with friends… – Cole, Year 6
Friends, teachers and to be in the school. The education here. – Mlibo, Year 4
Teachers help you get past your boundaries and don’t leave you behind. – Yann, Year 6
Camp. – Jessica, Year 4
Camp and my test marks. – Abigail, Year 4
From the first day, friends were kind and generous. – Bethany, Year 4
The freedom to be able to take breaks. – Lily, Year 7
Revision material. – Nina, Year 7
For generosity and hard work. – Miss Ashley Fraser
Being out on break duty, looking at the mountains and trees and enjoying the children swinging. – Miss Terena van Zyl
The visit from head office and the teamwork observed in preparation. – Mrs Jolene Faria
That we are all trying to be kinder; for children growing in kindness. – Mrs Lara Jelbert
I was really grateful on Friday to spend the time at Spier with the staff and students. I think everyone had such a lovely day. Just to have a day to breathe. – Mrs Nicci Geyer
I am thankful for the community we have at school. I am thankful for the challenges that have allowed ongoing growth and for all the fun moments we have had in class. I am thankful for all the passion I saw on the soccer field and netball court and the perseverance. I am thankful for the courage our musical students have shown and for their beautiful performances. Lastly, I’m thankful for all the extra activities I could be part of- the leadership camp, wellness days and so on. – Miss Andreia Caldeira
I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to teach at a small school with a big heart, serving to inspire and educate young minds, contributing to their growth and playing a crucial role in shaping their future, helping them to realise their potential and dreams, also appreciating the support from my caring colleagues in making a positive impact and the diverse learning experiences this role provides. – Mrs Lynda Leibbrandt
What I’m grateful for at school is for my colleagues and our team. I have made great friendships here and I have never had a day we’re I feel I don’t want to be here because of the people. I find my support here at school. I’m grateful that I get to know my students at a deeper level and establish a relationship with them, something that is not possible in bigger schools. – Mrs Mariana Quintero
It would be being able to understand myself and unlocking my work ethic. – Joe, Year 11
I am grateful for the chances and times I spent hanging out with friends that I know I may never see again after they leave. Though we have communication, stuff just happens. – Levi, Year 9
I’m grateful for the fact that I was able to grow and learn from many different situations, doesn’t matter if the situation was good or bad, a lesson was always learnt. – Olivia, Year 11
I’m grateful of how my parents are investing so much money into my education. I’m also grateful of my 2 close friends who’ve accepted me with open arms in their friend group and have made me comfortable around them without having to hide my big personality. – Esi, Year 8
When I look back on the year, the one thing I’m most grateful for is my parents, given all they have done for me. – Gadijah, Year 8
Looking back at the past year with my school at HIS I have so much to be grateful for. I’m greatful for the family that Is my school, that comes together to work as a team to create a fun and academic environment, as well as teachers who are willing to give students individual assistance in work which negates the feeling of just being a number, as I have felt In larger public schools. And I can’t forget about my amazing piers whom which have become my family and some of my closest friends. – Connor B, Year 11
I am incredibly grateful for every single opportunity that I’ve had to grow and improve. Sometimes it was an opportunity I really wanted, and sometimes it was an obstacle that I had to overcome. Either way, I’ve come out the other side stronger! – Connor S, Year 11
Something I am grateful for this year is, firstly to be the house representative of 2023. It was a big honor working alongside and helping out Mrs. Schell and working with my classmates to plan and create fun sports days. Another thing I’m grateful for is my teachers that helped me to get the good marks I got for my IG’s. I was definitely not able to do so well without their guidance and teachings. – Jaco, Year 11
Gratitude, I am grateful for the privilege I have to be able to go to school that works to help me succeed in life. I’m grateful for the many friends I acquired this year who have been a support system through the rough times. Most of all, I’m grateful for the people who believe in me, my aspirations and my abilities. – Imitha, Year 10
I am grateful for so many things this year! Even during the lows I’ve had things to be grateful for. I am so grateful for my teachers who have so much passion for their job and care for their students. They have really supported me and have been there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I’m also extremely grateful to my family and that we’ve been able to bless so many people this year; that I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends and that i was given the opportunity to help with children at an international conference. I have so much love for people especially children so that was such a blessing! – Tyler, Year 11
I am grateful for the fact that I can be in a privileged School which provides me with excellent academics and opportunities. Expect for the high quality standards in acedemics , my school ensures you as a student get valued for your character and whom you are as a person. – Althea, Year 10
This year I am grateful to the school for giving me opportunities to play the piano for others. Also for the teacher’s guidance in helping me to do my best and for my friends who make me laugh! – Andrew, Year 9
The ceremony was held in Stellenbosch at the beautiful, historical PJ Olivier Art Centre on Monday 4 September and parents, family, school Heads and their teachers joined in celebrating the achievements, followed by refreshments and snacks. Teachers were presented with colourful MathArt mugs showcasing selected learner entries from 2018-2021.
The competition is a unique to South Africa STEAM initiative aimed to promote innovation and creative problem-solving skills among learners nationwide. This years theme featured: “Mathematics in Africa: past present future” The GMMDC National MathArt Competition challenged entrants to create an original handmade artwork that connects Mathematics to an annual theme in a visual and innovative way.
The learners were presented with the challenge of interpreting this equation:
This creative problem-solving task aims to develop skills that are considered essential for job seekers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); thus empowering and preparing young South Africans for their future.
Entrants are given an opportunity to share, in their own words, more about their mathematical and creative processes by answering three questions which are an important component of their competition entry.
In its fourth year, this National MathArt Competition forms part of the Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre’s broader strategy to advance STEAM education in teaching and learning in South Africa.
Please use the link to view a video of the all gold, silver and bronze awards: https://youtu.be/Ru305Nq6ptM
Learners submitted a photograph of their artwork, and their answers to three questions online earlier this year in March and April.
After a preliminary selection process, entries were judged for mathematical integrity by an online panel of mathematics judges. Where the maths was evident, correct and integrated with the work, entries proceeded through to a second round of online judging by a diverse and interdisciplinary team of experts for consideration of the work as a whole.
The top submissions were declared semi-finalists of the competition, and the physical artworks were requested to be couriered to us in Gqeberha where they were judged by a final judging team.
The GMMDC were extremely encouraged by the level of entries they received as a whole to this year’s competition, and would like to invite learners and educators to continue to partner with them in future to approach Mathematics education from this unique perspective, including art as part of STEAM education. There are plans afoot to exhibit some of the artwork in Finland later this year.
Mrs Lynda Leibbrandt – Snr Art & Design / GMMDC
Since the start of Term 3, we have been taking a closer look at our mental health, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance that our psychological well-being plays in our overall quality of life.
What does ‘mental health’ mean?
Mental health refers to a person’s overall psychological and emotional well-being. It encompasses how individuals think, feel and behave, and it impacts how they handle stress, cope with challenges and make decisions in their daily lives. Mental health is essential for one’s ability to function effectively, maintain healthy relationships and adapt to the ups and downs of life.
Why focus on mental health at HIS?
- Focusing on mental health is vital for individual, school, societal and global well-being. It promotes a holistic approach to health, enhances personal development and contributes to building more resilient, compassionate and productive communities.
- Overall Well-being: Mental health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being. It affects emotions, thoughts, behaviours, and the ability to cope with stress and challenges.
- Productivity and Functioning: Improved productivity and functioning in various aspects of life: better able to concentrate, make decisions, manage relationships and perform effectively in their studies.
- Physical Health: Mental and physical health are closely interconnected. Poor mental health can contribute to physical health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, immune system dysfunction and chronic conditions like diabetes.
- Reduced Stigma: Focusing on mental health helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
- Prevention and Early Intervention: Addressing mental health issues early can prevent them from escalating into more severe conditions. Promoting mental health awareness and providing resources for early intervention can help pupils develop healthy coping mechanisms and resilience.
- Social and Community Impact: A society that prioritises mental health is likely to have healthier communities. When individual pupils have strong mental health, they are better able to form positive relationships, contribute to their communities and engage in meaningful social interactions.
- Economic Impact: Poor mental health can have significant economic consequences due to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and higher healthcare costs.
- Long-term Personal Development: Good mental health is essential for personal growth and development. It fosters self-esteem, confidence and the ability to set and achieve goals, contributing to a fulfilling and meaningful life.
- Resilience to Challenges: Strong mental health provides individuals with the tools to navigate these challenges more effectively, bouncing back from setbacks and maintaining a positive outlook.
- Global Impact: Mental health is a global concern. By prioritising mental health, societies can work towards reducing the burden of mental illnesses on a global scale, fostering greater empathy, understanding and support for individuals everywhere.
• Manage and express emotions in a healthy way.
• Cope with stress and life’s challenges effectively.
• Maintain satisfying relationships with others.
• Make realistic and positive decisions.
• Have a sense of purpose and fulfilment in life.
• Adapt to changes and transitions.
• Maintain a balance between work, leisure and rest.
How do we plan to raise awareness at HIS?
Each high-school year group will oversee the mental health topic they have been assigned. Their role is to do research on their topic and create awareness and intervention material which will be displayed on the high school notice board. The board will be interactive and include facts about the awareness topic, how to recognise influences and symptoms of said topic, how to get help, manage symptoms and words of encouragement.
Topics we will engage with include:
• Depression and anxiety (July- Y12)
• Bullying (August – Y9)
• Substance use/abuse (September – Y8)
• Self-esteem, self-awareness, identity (October – Y11)
• Eating disorders (November – Y10)
• Self-harm and suicide (10 September)
- The aim of our mental health awareness campaign is to promote understanding, acceptance and open dialogue about mental health issues within the school setting.
- We aim to raise awareness, reduce stigma and provide accurate information about mental health conditions, treatment options and available resources.
- The ultimate goal is to create a more compassionate and supportive school environment for our pupils experiencing mental health challenges and to encourage pupils to seek help when needed.
We hope you, our parents, will support this worthy campaign and help us raise the necessary funds.
You are welcome to contact me with any inquiries, comments or discussion topics you would like to see in The Counselling Corner. firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time. Keep well!
Mrs Inge Alberts
On Tuesday, the 15 August, our Year 10-12 Art & Design students headed off early to Mulberry Farm in Stellenbosch where the Studio and Sculpture Garden of the artist, Dylan Lewis is situated. The area is a mix of tame and wild, with the artist having created a mystical garden that explores the Jungian notion of ‘the wilderness within’. The project was started in 2009 when Dylan began excavating and contouring the land, his ‘canvas’. There are 60 sculptures situated along the carefully considered four kilometres of path in the seven-hectare garden and the recommended hiking route about two kilometres, that conceals and reveals each work as one moves from one area to the next.
The outing was of particular interest to the group in terms of the prescribed Gallery/Studio visits – to take additional primary source photographs for Coursework, inspiration for the Externally Set Assignment and research (especially for those working on Personal Investigations – for their A levels) as well as the creation of sketches on site.
Dylan Lewis, born in 1964, hails from an artistic family, beginning his career as a painter, but later turned to sculpture, inspired by his father’s untimely death and love for sculpting the bird form. Widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost sculptors of the animal form, Dylan initially focused on the big cats; in recent years, he used the human figure to explore our relationship with our inner wilderness. His international career spans two decades and includes exhibitions in Paris, Sydney, Toronto, Houston and San Francisco, as well as exhibitions in London, where he is among the few living artists to have held solo auctions at Christie’s in London. Sculpture certainly seems to be in the forefront worldwide currently, and we were fortunate to see some of Dylan’s pieces being cast and finished at Strand Castings on our recent visit to them last term. We are extremely privileged to have access to a multitude of creatives and venues to explore and inspire in our very midst!
Our appetite was first wet by the amazing drawings, paintings and sculptures in the Old Studio. Individually armed with maps, we had a quick orientation session in the lounge area and then set off on our bracing, independent, early morning hike through the gardens – which should take approximately anything from forty five minutes to one and a half hours at a leisurely pace if reading up about the thirty nine areas of interest, stopping to take pictures and navigate the boulders whilst crossing the various streams. The area is divided into: Paintings, Birds, African Animals, Big Cats, Leopard fragments, Human Torsos, Early Female Figures, Shamanic Female Figures, Shamanic Male Figures, Monumental Fragments and Recent Sculptures.
It was a crisp, fresh, gusty morning and the wonderful green, earthy smell of indigenous vegetation (fynbos, buchu, ericas) and the dappled early morning light made it quite a magical experience as we approached each twist and bend en-route, wondering what enchanted mythical, magical or wild creature we would next encounter along our winding pathway.
We had a short refreshment break at the Old Store Room, offering delicious coffee, tea and cake on the way back and then returned to the Studio to examine the various artefacts, books, drawings, paintings, sculptural work and remnants of castings – a perfect time to draw, take notes, work through the worksheet and reflect upon the magical journey. Sadly, it was time to leave, but no doubt we will be back for a further enchanting visit.
Mrs Lynda Leibbrandt, Snr Art & Design Teacher.
Below are some of the students’ reflections shared in response to our visit:
Arella, Year 10 – I enjoyed the scenery. It was spectacular! I also enjoyed how there were different sizes of sculptures. I was inspired by the sketches that he did and the style of sketching that he used.
Ben, Year 10 – I think the location of the garden and sculptures was a breath of fresh air as it was a new experience for me as well as being my first outdoor gallery inspection. My favourite part of the trip was the animal sculptures in the garden, especially the feline inspired ones. It was like walking through a reserve!
Imitha, Year 10 – It was a unique experience because I had never been to an outdoor gallery before. Along with the fact, I quite enjoyed the composition of the sculptures and the different types of materials used to manufacture them. My favourite part was the small area with the different paintings of landscapes. I loved the old farm cottage feel with all the stone and use of natural elements.
Gloria, Year 11 – I really enjoyed walking through the garden and looking at all of the animals – it almost felt like they were alive! I also managed to take quite a few photos for my exam topic: Walking Through.
Milla, Year 11 – The garden along with the sculptures went beautifully together, the scenery worked together well and the sculptures inside where the sketches were was interesting to see together and the thought process behind his sculptures just from the sketches. It was a lovely experience altogether.
Jensen, Year 11 – The garden and building were tranquil and serene. His art works and sculptures were unique and displayed his skill and his thought process. The placements of his artworks are complimented by the foliage in the garden and the light that he chose for that area. The architecture of the old building combined with the architecture of the new building, the Pavilion, near it was all spectacular. I would love to attend again and spend more time there.
Zoey, Year 11 – It was really cool to walk through the garden and see all of the sculptures there. It was really fascinating and interesting to see and it gave me a lot of inspiration for my artworks. The garden itself was beautiful and kept up well and overall it was a great experience.
Isabell, Year 11 – I really enjoyed walking through the peaceful atmosphere of the garden and looking at the sculptures. Personally I really enjoyed looking at the different paintings and their mediums.
Sibo, Year 11 – I like how the artist’s work is spread out on a huge “canvas”. One sculpture is further than the next and it makes my entire time there feel like a sort of adventure or journey. Some were placed among the flowers and trees and seeing the sculptures felt like I was seeing real animals enjoying their habitats. You can really see the artist’s personality on the canvas and sketches, especially the sculptures.
Keenan, Year 12 – The visit to the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden was an eye opening journey through the works of an amazing artist. It lit a new fire and appreciation within me, and made me rethink the relationship between art and nature. Lewis’ incorporation and placement of his sculptures in appropriate natural settings, made it seem as if the sculptures themselves were naturally creating a scene, almost like a dance between manmade handwork and the natural beauty of the African environment.
Ineke, Year 12 – I liked how he used the natural world as part of his sculptures instead of working around the beauty of nature, as well as the mechanical, rigid and rough design of the sculptures which is in direct contrast to the delicate and almost subtle look of the plant life.
Some of our Year 11 and 12 students had great fun this week experimenting with smoke painting – a soot, candlelight and burning technique that captures interesting shapes and tones that almost seem to dance and flicker across the paper.
We had initially seen the series of works of missing children by local artist, Diane Victor: “The technique embodies the situation extremely well, missing children becoming ephemeral ghosts, flickering into life and fading back into the soot they are made from.” This inspired us to research further and discover that the father of smoke painting is Mexican / German artist, Wolfgang Paalen, who in the late 1930s often embellished his work (The Messenger,1941), emphasising images and shapes using several thin layers of oil paint or acrylic, whilst some artists use charcoal, gouache, coloured pencils and oil pastels. A technique that was presumably discovered by our early cave dwellers, some 40 000 or more years ago and re-discovered and adopted by us later on.
Salvador Dalí (Autumnal Cannibalism, 1936) also used smoke painting (or sfumage, as he coined it) on canvas and wet oil paint in his surreal style of artwork – a variation we still need to try.
It was Stephen Spazuk who demonstrated his smoke and direct facial transfer technique that inspired and left our students, Milla and Keenan’s model, Lene, all black and sooty whilst creating a self-portrait and portrait profile study. Spazuk’s most recent and disturbing series, Ornithocide, features live and dead birds juxtaposed with various man-made devices designed to kill insects, and leaves us questioning the threat we pose to the planet and living systems, including ourselves, as we poison insects, to seemingly cleanse our homes and protect our crops.
It was also fascinating to see Sheila Gallagher’s work – she painstakingly combined numerous cut stencils she had made to mask, smoke and create a life-sized rhinoceros work of art.
Keenan also experimented with another subtractive version of the technique – removing areas of soot with a putty eraser, adding extra details where necessary. This style of work needs to be handled carefully and fixed by applying a charcoal-fixative spray, whilst safety measures obviously need to be taken into consideration whilst creating the works of art.
Mrs Lynda Leibbrandt, Snr Art & Design
After our Year 10 Journey assembly, where our students shared their stories of the Journey with the rest of the high school, a deeper reflection was shared with the parents at our JourneyGet2Gether where everyone is invited to share a meal and watch a video compilation of all the photos. Enjoy reading some more excerpts of their reflections in this final installment.
“Because I was new to the school, I went into the Journey sort of alienated but soon everyone warmed up to me. Some started to see me as a friend but most saw me as a brother. In Johannesburg I had known my friends for many years so the most important thing for me during the Journey was to make meaningful connections with the people around me. And now looking around me, I can say that I have achieved that.
Journey, as an overall experience, was amazing. But don’t misunderstand what I mean. During Journey you realise that your highs are high and your lows are low. But by about day six that all changed. The highs, the socializing after that day’s hike, and the lows, all the walking we did, started to mix and there started to be no bad times.
Some of my highlights were cooking for everyone and spending time with my no-longer friends, but family.
On day three we walked 25km on the beach and that was the worst day of Journey. As we all remember, towards the end of the walk Zane and Ronan didn’t want to tell us how much longer there was to walk and we all collapsed on the ground on the side of the road because we could not walk anymore. But arguably, that day taught us the most about ourselves.
Journey teaches us that although there are physical mountains to climb, the first mountain you have to climb is the one in your mind. During Journey, I watched as the people around me grew mentally and changed into better people and it was amazing! I hope that I have changed for the better.
Truth be told, I don’t think I could have completed the Journey by myself, therefore I can confidently say that because of the people around me, including Ms van Zyl and Mr Kotzee, I completed Journey.”
– Kiyan Govender
“The Journey, for me personally, was an escape from reality where I discovered new things about myself and my classmates. I learnt not to take aspects of my life for granted such as family, books, a warm bed and a good hearty meal. I’ll admit in the beginning I had my resistance and an attitude for giving up but as the days went by I didn’t mind all the hiking, sore feet and heavy bag. Despite an injured knee, I persevered until I reached the finish line and I was so happy to see my best friend in the entire world, my mother.
Some friendships grew stronger, unbreakable bonds were built. I felt comfortable sharing pieces of myself because I knew I could trust these people. In short, the Journey was an adventure, one where you had no limits to be yourself, discover foreign grounds and learn to have gratitude and love for the people around you. I would not change the fact that I got injured because it helped me realise that I’m brave, courageous and that I’ll do anything to succeed and not let imaginary limits stop me.”
– Imitha Mhlungu
Ms Terena van Zyl, High School Teacher
Some of our senior Art students have displayed a keen interest in sculpture, jewellery design and the casting process of late. This initiated another visit to Sculpture Casting Services in Strand on Monday this week. Sculpture Casting Services is the largest foundry in Africa, with branches in Somerset West, Strand, the prestigious Waterfront – Cape Town (foundry with gallery space) and Natal Midlands. The company is a highly specialised fine art foundry, casting from the smallest to largest sculptures (the monumental Mandela and recently a large 8m male lion) ever cast in Africa. Having grown from humble beginnings to one of the largest in Africa, it was founded by Robert Knight in the 90’s, later joined by his two younger brothers, Warren and Bruce Knight.
Having been instructed to change into heavy denim trousers and closed shoes, we donned safety glasses and ear plugs to cautiously follow Warren, who with his wealth of knowledge and experience led our tour through the busy and noisy foundry, explaining each step of the process, backed by long standing staff, well versed in their particular area of expertise and tradition. The entire bronze casting process or “investment casting” still relies on the ancient “lost wax” method of casting used from about 3000 B.C., with the addition of modern technology like 3D digital scanning, backed by various editing software programs, 3D printers and polyurethane robotic cutters etc. to perfect the process.
Very simply: “Casting involves making a mould and then pouring a liquid material, such as molten metal, plastic, rubber or fibreglass into the mould. A cast is a form made by this process. Many sculptures are produced by the artist modelling a form (normally in clay, wax or plaster). This is then used to create a mould to cast from. A mould can be cast more than once, allowing artists to create editions of an artwork.” – Tate. The process is a constant interplay of negative and positive space.
It was also fascinating at the start to see the traditional carving method of a giant turtle from an enormous block of green stone, based on a small maquette of the turtle. Something the foundry had been working on for the last year! The turtle will be bound for distant shores once completed. Artists have the possibility to sculpt with three grades of soft, mid or hard wax manufactured by the company. For casting purposes the wax portion is generally 3-4 mm thick, and once “lost” constitutes the bronze or copper portion poured / cast, with some of the smaller areas remaining solid. The green wax sculptures rest in tanks of cold water to maintain their delicate details, only to be melted and reused again. Silica and sand, sometimes with the addition of fabric, for strengthening purposes, is employed in the sand casting process.
It was exciting to discover the large arched piece that we had seen Lionel Smit working on from our previous outing to his studio last term, especially as we had all helped to roll small balls of wax for Lionel to add to his work – now already cast, welded and approaching the last finishing stages.
Some other enormous pieces being completed was an abstract by Kentridge, President Kruger bearing full regalia – bound for Oranje, a giant olive for Portugal, next to it – a bird in flight carrying a large suspended man beneath it. It was very exciting for the students to see the step-by-step marrying of art, design, technology and science to create some awe inspiring modern abstract, realistic and idealistic sculptures by famous local and international artists like William Kentridge, Lionel and Anton Smit, Dylan Lewis and Antonio da Silva to name but a few.
Foreign investment in art, particularly sculpture, especially wildlife, is making South Africa a viable tourist’s destination, especially with our attractive exchange rate and the quality of the work produced in the country.
Sadly we could not experience a bronze pour this time as generated power needs to be divided at the factory during the current outages, but we hope to visit the Waterfront foundry when we travel to the Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town again.
Lynda Leibbrandt, Snr Art & Design.
Some of our students also reflected on their visit:
The visit to the Sculpture Casting Services in Strand, was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. My knowledge prior to the visit of castings was barely even scratching the purpose of this age old practice. What was interesting to me was the fact that the process that they use in today’s casting has stayed unchanged for hundreds of years, and possibly for as long as humans have been casting in bronze.
Most excitingly, they were welding together individual pieces of one of Lionel Smuts upcoming sculptures, a sculpture that we had a hand in creating (all we did was roll wax balls for Lionel to attach). As an artist it lit a fire within my soul and solidified within my heart, how important art is and will always be in the history and future of humankind. Keenan – Yr 12
I really enjoyed learning about the process of casting a sculpture in bronze, copper and resin. I also found it very informative that there were so many other materials that I could use to make sculpture such as styrofoam, cardboard, and wood. I got to see interesting sculptures and learn about the artists who made them and I loved to see the amount of work that goes on in order to make these sculptures. I also found the technological side of creating the sculptures very interesting. Arella – Yr 10
I recently embarked on an expedition to a remarkable sculpture casting business. The craftsmanship was impeccable, and the attention to detail was awe-inspiring. The artists’ passion for their craft shone through in every piece. It was an enriching experience, leaving me with a newfound appreciation for the art of metalwork. The rich textures and intricate designs captured my imagination, making it a truly memorable experience. Imitha – Yr 10
My first thoughts on the sculpture casting service workshop was that it was going to be interesting to see how some sculptures around the world were made and I was not disappointed. The way they utilised the copper instead of other materials such as zinc and tin so that when the metal oxidised it would turn the desired colour they wanted and were able to manipulate that by adding a few chemicals intrigued me. The use of the glasses and ear buds also made the experience feel a little bit more special and it showed me how dangerous and difficult this line of work really was. I think it was a good outing! Ben – Yr 10
Our Year 9 to 12 Art & Design students and Year 12 English Literature students were terribly excited anticipating our imminent trip to Lionel Smit’s Studio. We were met with a flurry of activity as Lionel and staff were busy preparing and packing his latest works for an upcoming exhibition early in March at the Everard Read CIRCA gallery, in Cape Town.
Our guide, Donnay, Gallery and Logistics Manager, commenced the tour by visiting the upstairs printing area, where silkscreen and Giclée prints are created and briefly explained and illustrated various examples of the different printing techniques, as well as some etchings and chine-collé prints.
Next, was the painting section, where numerous artworks were stationed in different areas, some in the process – as Lionel works on several pieces at once, sometimes for several years in some cases. The area houses an interesting array of paint, drawing materials and various precious pieces from his earlier years, as well as a superb private collection of inspirational artworks he has acquired over the years, displayed in the passage area.
The cherry on the top was the sculpture section where Lionel was very busy working on a large semi-circular sculpture and he graciously shared his pressurised time to discuss his work, inspiration and processes, also taking the time to answer some technical questions the students had prepared whilst we helped roll small balls of a plasticine mix to add to his latest sculpture.
Lionel was introduced to the world of art by his father, renowned sculptor, Anton Smith, whose studio was adjacent to the family home. Lionel drew inspiration from the early classical artists, and the expressive colourful brush strokes of the Fauves, tending to favour the softer feminine aspect, or Madonna figure, also inspired by the many beautiful faces that make up the rich cultural Identity of our diverse country.
Gallery visits and art/design/craft interviews form an essential part of the Art & Design course. This inspiring visit catered for many aspects of the students areas of interest – painting, sculpture and printing – as well as architecture, especially the versatile and voluminous, church-like space of the studio and gallery designed by talented local architect Stuart Hermansen.
We are incredibly lucky to have a famous multi-disciplinary artist like Lionel Smit right in our very midst, and reasonably accessible. I trust and hope that the visit will inspire our students to even greater heights.
Our visit also served to inspire our accompanying Yr 12 English Literature students to write some art reviews.
Below are some of the comments made by the Art & Design students following their visit:
I enjoyed seeing Lionel Smit’s workshop and how he works in the different areas. I like the use of expressive and bold colours, instead of using “realistic” colours for his work. Ineke Yr 12
When I arrived I was excited to see art pieces I had seen from Lionel on the internet in person. I liked the pieces I saw because I was able to analyse them more thoroughly by being a few inches away from the artworks. I liked the texture on all of them and how the art size scales varied which made every piece unique.
The fact that it was my first art exhibition also added to my excitement of being there. Ben Yr 10
The visit to the Lionel Smit Gallery was a truly inspiring experience which reignited my flame for art and made me want to push myself and my style even further. Keenan Yr 12
The art gallery was an interesting and fun experience, it was also very inspiring. The way he does his paintings flow and they always come together with a colour palette that is similar, like yellow and brown. I want to be able to do a similar style like his. Milla Yr 11
It was very interesting to see his studio and where he works, especially the sculpture room. I fairly enjoyed being able to actually talk to him and see and hear about silk-screening and the prints done. Zoey Yr 11
The Lionel Smit Studio was a very eye opening experience. I got insight on the lives of artists on their many processes to produce their final artworks. The studio showed me that there are numerous things, methods and tools needed for some pieces of artwork. Every piece of art was as great or even greater than the next. His artwork definitely pushed me towards a new direction and even made me want to sculpt and create something more tangible. His colour and way of painting had made me question my own art and stimulate me to try something different. Sibo Yr 11
I really enjoyed going to the Lionel Smit art studio. It was amazing to see his sculptures in real life and learn about the process he uses to create these magnificent pieces of artwork. It was also exciting to meet Mr Smit in person. I was very inspired by his paintings and it makes me want to just sit down and start painting and there was a very interesting sculpture I recognised. This is the sculpture that I found very interesting. It is called the Morphous. This is where two heads are morphed together. I didn’t have the original picture of it when we went to the gallery. But I enjoy how the sculpture is connected together and they are both facing the other directions from each other. Arella Yr 10
The studio gave me an insight into Lionel Smit’s artistic passion. The opportunity to actually meet him inspired creativity inside of me. Lionel Smit’s statue structures reveal to us the message he is trying to pass on and the emotions he is trying to evoke in a viewer. I would describe the art as Lionel expressing/highlighting the beauty of his subjects. It’s extraordinary to me that he can capture a person’s significance. My first impression of seeing all his work was “wow, how can someone be so gifted” and I am grateful that he chose to share his gift with the world. Imitha Yr 10
I really liked that we could meet Lionel Smit and see his work area and you could sense how comfortable he is in his own space. I also really liked seeing all of his artwork and sculptures. Katherine Yr 9
The Lionel Smit exhibition was quite enlightening. I most enjoyed the outing; it was incredibly relaxing to be in an art-focused environment. Being able to see the finished pieces physically gave a much different experience compared to searching it up online. The scale at which Smit presented his artworks really added to the grandeur of his pieces. When observing him work, I could easily see how relaxed and comfortable he seemed, how much he enjoyed working. It was amazing to think that such a “chill” man had made such extraordinary art. Levi Yr 9
I am interested in architecture and I must say I really enjoyed Lionel Smit’s Studio. I was very inspired by Stuart Hermansen’s work with the design of the studio. I really admired the simplicity of it, because Stuart Hermansen left it as open concrete and the usage of sharp angles and edges.This also complimented Lionel’s work and made the colour seem more powerful with the contrast with the concrete. Lionel Smit’s artworks were also very spectacular. His ability to work with colour and his subject matter is also highly proficient. Jensen Yr 11
Mrs Lynda Leibbrandt, High School Art TeacherRead More
HOW TO LOVE YOUR CHILD – 5 Love Languages
The Five Love Languages is a concept developed by Dr Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, there are five primary ways that people express and feel loved:
- Words of Affirmation: Verbal compliments and affirmations of love and appreciation.
- Quality Time: Giving undivided attention to the person you love.
- Receiving Gifts: Giving and receiving tangible gifts as symbols of love and affection.
- Acts of Service: Helping and serving the person you love in practical ways.
- Physical Touch: Holding hands, hugging, kissing, and other forms of physical affection.
- Words of Affirmation: If your child’s primary love language is words of affirmation, they will likely feel loved when you tell them how much you love them, give them verbal compliments and express your appreciation for the things they do. You can also write them notes or cards, or tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments.
- Quality Time: If your child’s primary love language is quality time, they will feel loved when you spend undivided time with them doing things they enjoy. This could mean playing a game with them, reading a book together, going for a walk or having a special “date” with just the two of you.
- Receiving Gifts: If your child’s primary love language is receiving gifts, they will feel loved when you give them small tokens of your affection. This could mean buying them a toy or a book, or making them a special craft. It is important to note that the gift doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s more about the thought behind it.
- Acts of Service: If your child’s primary love language is acts of service, they will feel loved when you help them and do things for them. This could mean cooking their favourite meal, doing their laundry or helping them with a project.
- Physical Touch: If your child’s primary love language is physical touch, they will feel loved when you give them hugs, hold their hand and give them kisses. This could also include other forms of physical affection such as massaging their shoulders or cuddling while reading a book.
The best way to know for sure which language your child might feel most loved by is through observation, trial and error. Over time you will be able to find out what your child responds to best, as well as communicate to them that you love them through that language, and they will be more receptive to you, and will feel more loved. Follow the link to the Love Languages Quiz to find out your child’s most prominent love language: https://5lovelanguages.com/quizzes
Our Year 7s spent the day in our High School today getting a feel for what awaits them in 2023! They had a number of different lessons throughout the day and thoroughly enjoyed joining the Art & Design class to create a Pendulum Painting using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, inspired by the abstract painting of artist, Jackson Pollock. The lesson was a bit short to explore the project fully but a lot of fun (and mess) was had.
The class divided up into three groups. One group made use of a camera tripod, the other group supported a narrow plank of wood between two chairs to create the environment to set the pendulum in motion, whilst the third group experimented with paint dipped marbles which they rolled across the page to create yet another abstract piece. The activity experiments with the scientific principles of inertia and motion, using gravity and diluted tempera paints to make geometric patterns similar to a Spirograph.
So what is the Science behind this project? Sir Isaac Newton’s 1st Law of Motion –The velocity of an object will remain constant unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Isaac Newton was a scientist, mathematician and astronomer who was born in England in 1643. He is considered one of the most important scientists in history; even Albert Einstein said that Newton was the smartest person that ever lived.
Newton’s First Law of Motion (he came up with three) says that any object in motion will continue to move in the same direction and speed unless forces act on it. Simply, that means things cannot start, stop or change direction all by themselves. For example, if you kick a ball, it will fly forever unless some sort of forces act on it! As strange as this may sound, it’s true. But when you kick a ball, forces start to act on it immediately. These include resistance or friction from the air, which slows the ball down, and gravity, which pulls the ball down to the ground.
What is Inertia?
Inertia is the tendency of a body to resist a change in motion or rest. For example, when a vehicle stops, you tend to jerk forward before coming to a complete stop. In the same way, you will jerk backwards when the vehicle begins to move. This phenomenon is described by Newton’s First Law of Motion; objects tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing,” unless disturbed.
What is a Pendulum?
A pendulum is a fixed object, hung from a point so that it can swing freely back and forth due to the force of gravity. When the object is at its highest point, or furthest from the ground, it has maximum potential energy. When the object oscillates (swings) back and forth, it repeatedly converts its energy in motion due to the gravity on the swing.
How does all of this relate to the art of Pendulum Painting?
By adding paint to the pendulum in this project, one can demonstrate the science behind the Laws of Motion and inertia while making dramatic works of art. Though Jackson Pollock may never have used a pendulum to create his famous paintings, he did use the motion of his whole body to cover his large canvases with paint. One can observe the similarities and differences between the artworks created and the paintings of Jackson Pollock.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
A pendulum works by converting energy back and forth, a bit like a roller coaster ride.
If there were no friction or drag (air resistance), a pendulum would keep moving forever.
About the Artist: Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. As a young boy, Pollock would explore Native American culture and Mexican muralist works while on land surveying trips with his father. This exposure played a major role in his earliest art influences. When he turned 18, Pollock moved to New York City to study art with his older brother Charles. During these studies, he adopted his rhythmic style of painting.
Pollock was widely praised for his ‘action painting’ — a technique that used the force of his entire body to pour, splash and fling liquid paint onto a horizontal surface. Hardened brushes, sticks and even basting syringes were used as paint applicators. Unlike traditional upright paintings, Pollock’s paint literally flowed from his chosen tool onto the canvas. With the ability to apply paint from all directions, he added new dimensions of movement to his works, which is why they were often described as unpredictable and undisciplined.
Our experiments and text were inspired by the Neuberger Museum of Art Education team.
Written by: Mrs Lynda Leibbrandt, High School Art TeacherRead More