Harrogate pupils' art to star in Saatchi Gallery in London

Talented young pupils from Harrogate will grab centre place in the international art world when their self-created art installation is exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Saturday, 20th February 2016, 8:10 am
Success - Oatlands Junior School's specialist at teacher Sam Joseph with some of the school children and sculptures which will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

The youngsters of Oatlands Junior school outshone 22,000 entries from 54 countries to be shortlisted for the international 2016 Saatchi Gallery/Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools.

It’s a phenomenal achievement for the talented Harrogate schoolchildren and their art teacher, Sam Joseph.

Their shortlisted piece of art, Conserving our Biodiversity, was created by the entire school - all 300 children - and will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery from March 3-9.

Conserving our Biodiversity - The art installation created by the pupils of Oatlands Junior School.

Oatlands headteacher Jill Cooper said: “The whole school is buzzing with excitement and pride. Seeing our whole school art installation in the Saatchi Gallery is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We are so thankful to our art teacher, Sam Joseph, for having had the vision, and so very proud of our children for rising to the challenge.”

The school’s art project was inspired by the artist Ai Weiwei and explores what is happening in terms of biodiversity and the potential threat to wild plants and flowers.

Each child at Oatlands created a clay sculpture focusing on their forms and details translated from their illustrations of a wild plant or flower, which is on the Red Data List for the British Isles.

Conserving our Biodiversity - The art installation created by the pupils of Oatlands Junior School.

Some of these plants and flowers are already extinct or critically endangered in the wild, through the impact of our modern day living and climate change.

Their art teacher Sam Joseph said: “I was incredibly thrilled to hear the news, so much so, I screamed and jumped into the air. It was moving to teach and see this project evolve.

“Every child at Oatlands wanted to show the forms and details of their wild plant or flower from the Red Data List of the British Isles, to show what could be lost forever.”

Should Oatlands Junior School prove triumphant at the awards ceremony on the opening night of the exhibition in a couple of weeks’ time, they will win a slice of prize money totalling £20,000 for schools and £4,000 for winning students.

Readers can see the Oatlands pupil’s artwork online at www.saatchigallery.com/portfolio