Pupils' artworks at-a-glance▼About the pupils' artworks Ms Charrot-Grinsdale: Each day pupils would devise the mini-musical focusing on ‘the lost boy and the compass’ journeys and in period 7 they would perform it. This was a hectic yet thoroughly enjoyable process as we had to literally act fast! The pupils also had the invaluable help and guidance of Round Midnight – who are an exceptional theatre group from the UK and a firm favourite of the Wellington international school when they attend their annual arts festival. Mr Abood: As well as the murals, there were also landscape paintings from Grade 4 and 5 which were printed onto huge 24-foot sheets of material and hung as part of the set design. These backgrounds were moved and manipulated by the Junior High pupils within the plays each day. Mr Hannan: Alongside the songs used in the plays, pupils also did some incredible work creating different soundscapes – imagine landscape paintings but composed of musical elements to invoke a certain mood. The sheer range of innovative and creative musical composition on display was inspiring. When there are challenges... Mr Hannan: They were so enthusiastic from the moment we started to describe the concept to them. ‘Pumped’ is the best word to use, I think. They understood from the beginning that this was not going to be a passive event where they sat back and absorbed what was given to them. They knew that they had to be proactive to get the most out of it, so they entirely threw themselves into creating something meaningful and special. Ms Charrot-Grinsdale: I think that what they loved most about this festival was the creative freedom and the opportunity to craft their own thoughts and ideas into a living piece of art that covers theatre, music and the visual arts. You could tell how much they were enjoying it by the way they got stuck in but still thought so carefully about what they were doing. Every part of it mattered deeply to them, as they wanted to create something that lived up to the ideas in their heads. Mr Abood: What impressed me most was their curiosity and inquisitiveness. As soon as they understood the theme and the concept they began asking so many pertinent questions about what they could do, what they could try out, how they could explore the themes and so on. It was wonderful to see their enthusiasm and mature, intelligent response to the challenge we had set them. The take-away from the festival Ms Charrot-Grinsdale: I want all of our pupils to inspire each other and enjoy the concept of creating art not just for themselves but for others. This is why we had year groups making art specifically for their peers this week. From the shared performances, to the physical pieces like the big plastic bottle tree from Grades 1-2 and the materials for the movement work made by Grades 4-5, I want them to be able to celebrate each other’s artistry. Mr Hannan: I hope that they see how closely linked all of our subjects are, how practical they are and how they come together. These are not stand-alone disciplines, they are firmly connected and they continually reinforce and inform one another. The festival is about showing our pupils that they are capable of using their knowledge and talents to bring all of these artistic elements together to create something truly unique and wonderful. Mr Abood: I want our pupils to appreciate themselves as artists. Whether they are creating something as an individual, a small group or as a year group on a large-scale work, I want them to instinctively place value on it. I hope that they see their efforts during the festival as an important first step in what could potentially be the start of a creative journey that could take them to some very exciting places. Finally, I hope that they recognise the importance of art in their lives and how it connects to so many aspects of their education, their future hopes and their emotional wellbeing. We hope that you enjoyed witnessing the transformation of the school into the living elemental lands during Huili Arts Festival. Whole-school events of this nature are an integral part of our holistic educational offering, as they demonstrate to pupils how everything they learn is interconnected and valuable in helping them understand themselves and their future path. We are already looking forward to Huili Arts Festival 2020 and plenty of artistic projects in between!