Headmaster Ben Skeen and Head of Visual Arts Jonathan Cameron collaborated on ideas to spruce up the artwork around the school. After much research, it was decided that Jonathan would acquire new, contemporary art on an annual basis.
Having met New Zealand artist Sam Mitchell some years ago, Jonathan immediately felt she would be an ideal fit for the inaugural annual artwork acquirement. Best known for her iconic blue portraits, rich symbolism, and painting on perspex, it was settled that Sam would kickstart the new programme.
After being commissioned to make two paintings for the School, Sam visited the campus in August 2021 and began putting painting plans together by engaging with the archives team, students, teachers, and staff. The brief was to tell the story of St Paul’s and the impact the school has on the wider community.
“I had to wade through the history and gain a sense of what the fundamental elements of the school are and then separate those components and turn them into visual images,” says Mitchell.
Using the faces of 2021 Head Boy, Matthew Waddell, and Head Girl, Gretel Muir, the pair represent all past, current, and future students. The faces contain images that create a narrative, and that narrative invites the viewer to decode the pictures and complete the story.
“Thank you to Jonathan and his team for the amount of background information and the stunning photography of the Head Boy and Girl, and it made my job easier to complete the two paintings. I’m proud to see my work installed in the Lander Centre.”