Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department has three experienced full-time teachers who provide a continuous program of instruction from grade 6-12. In the middle school all students attend visual arts classes for two double periods per week. From grade 9 courses become optional and students who may be intending to choose one of the I.B. Visual Arts courses are strongly advised to take the options in grades 9 and 10.

Course Content

Grades 6 – 8

In these grade years the course curriculum comprises three main course components: (1) Making: comprised of drawing & painting from observation, single objects, groups of objects, interior spaces, exterior spaces and human figure; (2) techniques & media, comprising the introduction to the safe and economical use of materials; transparent water based media; opaque water based media, and ceramics, printing and three-dimensional media; and (3) Theory: explores the four major things that people do with art: (i) they make it - production, (ii) they look at it - criticism, (iii) they understand its place in culture over time – history; and (iv) they make judgments about its quality - aesthetics . Each of these three components incorporates the study of Visual Grammar, the Primacy of Drawing and Visual Arts Theory.

Grades 9 – 10

The curriculum in the Pre-IB years of grades 9 and 10 consists of core and extended modules. In grade 9 students develop both their conceptual and perceptual presentational skills, looking at drawing conventions such as the Plano metric and Linear Perspectives and the representation of objects, spaces and the human figure. Students are introduced to the basic techniques of painting media, both transparent and opaque, and to multi-dimensional compositions, comparing systematic and aesthetic processes.

In grade 10 students build upon their knowledge of perception by investigating the perception of spaces, edges and relationships as well as lights and shadows. They explore the concepts of seeing and knowing (percepts and concepts) and are taught to understand measurement and proportion. Elements of the Natural Perspective are deepened and Composition in multi-dimensions, and the narrative and structure thereof are also further explored. Students of both grades 9 and 10 are required to keep an investigation workbook, complete a theoretical study, and submit a series of hand-made artifacts within the framework of an independent study of various visual media.

Grades 11 – 12

Visual Arts is offered at IB Higher and Standard Level for grade 11 and 12 students. Both the Higher and Standard Level courses follow the same programme, with HL having a greater time allocation to produce a larger body of work and work of greater depth. Course work is divided into, and assessed in, two modules: Investigation Work and Studio Work. Studio work involves practical exploration and artistic production. Investigation work involves independent, visual and critical investigation and reflection, both visual and written. The course is designed to enable students to study the visual arts in higher education and also welcomes those students who seek life enrichment through the visual arts.

The visual arts syllabus is framed by the aims and philosophy of the International Baccalaureate. In addition to the usual activities we have specialist resources for ceramics, photography and digital imaging. We believe that as welcome as the advances in technology are to increase the range of communicative and expressive means available to our students, the interactions that take place between relatively simple materials can help to expand, deepen and refine perception and will always have a place in the repertoire of human communication. As beguiling and seductive as a touch screen is, it is neither a substitute for nor can it adequately replace the calligraphic swirl of ink made by a pen across a sheet of paper, the sleek or rugged form of a pot shaped by hand out of clay or the forceful impasto of a brush loaded with color across a canvas. Underlying these activities are complex feelings which may remain profoundly inexplicable but they are also celebratory, life-affirming actions that connect the past with the future and our outer selves with our inner spaces.