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Thousands of Newham children participate in Art Matters at UEL

Show explores the power of art and creativity across the school curriculum

Over 2,000 children and young people representing over 40 Newham primary and secondary schools and colleges are participating in the annual Art Matters exhibition hosted by the University of East London (UEL).

The show explores the power of art and creativity across the school curriculum and is a celebration of the diverse ways that local teachers have placed art at the centre of their students’ learning. 

Ashia Oozeer, Head of Art at Plashet School in East Ham and one of the exhibition organisers, said, “The idea of the theme is for students to see how they can use art to access other areas of the curriculum. We’ve got work based in history, geography, theology. 

“The exhibition is just fantastic insight for teachers and for students. It’s also just a fantastic celebration of all the creativity that’s going on in Newham, and a celebration of that work.”

Art Matters opened on 4 July and runs until 14 July at UEL’s AVA Building, Docklands Campus. The exhibition can be seen from 10 am to 6pm every day except weekends.

The work on display includes drawings based on selfies, recreations of work by famous artists, video installations, collages inspired by current political events and more. The show also honours Andy Law, who founded the Newham Borough Show, which later became Art Matters. Andy died a few months ago.  

Simon Robertshaw, Dean of UEL’s School of Arts and Digital Industries, said, “It’s always a proud moment for myself to have an exhibition such as this at the University. It really highlights the fantastic work that goes on in Newham. 

“We’re in a political environment where the arts are becoming ever diminished, and we need to understand the value of the arts in the curriculum so we can stand tall about how the arts contribute to all aspects of the curriculum.”

At the exhibition’s opening, four-year-old Libby Lou Chipperfield, who attends Calverton Nursery, proudly pointed to her colouring of a green and blue shell.  Libby said it felt good seeing her piece in the show.

Asked whether she likes art, Libby said, “I love doing it.”

Photo credit: Anthony Rosner