As part of the ‘Artists in School Scheme’ administered by the Laois Arts Office, Clonaslee College Transition Year students became involved in a collaborative project to create a sculpture under the guidance and direction of their Art teacher Amanda Harkin and local artist Tom Joyce.
This sculpture is currently being exhibited in Mountmellick Library.
The theme of the project is mental health and general wellbeing and its title is “Art for Our Sake”.
The sculpture is comprised of two faces – the first face, appears to be under an internal pressure that is forcing through a protective shield of steel.
When examined, the face and steel shield seem to be ‘cracking up’ under stress.
The second face cries out in frustration, or for help, as it bursts through the shield, which can no longer contain its pain and anguish and hide it from public view.
The Clonaslee students believe that the sculpture will promote an awareness and realisation that often private anguish or anger might be hidden behind a mask that is as tough as steel.
To expose the students to a wide range of artistic practices, the sculpture was created using a variety of materials and construction techniques.
The construction had five phases: the construction of two armatures; the modelling of the faces in air-drying clay; the development of the ‘faces’ in cardboard; using these cardboard templates, the cutting and welding of the steel components to ‘frame’ the faces.
Through being actively involved in every stage of the process, the students gained new artistic and practical skills.
Art teacher, Amanda Harkin said: “This was a great project, the students worked very hard and enjoyed their time working with local artist Tom Joyce.
“We thought we would focus on the theme of mental health and we are very proud of what has been achieved.”