Pupils' work goes on display at world-famous Saatchi gallery

Pupil Kaylee Foster at work

Pupil Kaylee Foster at work

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by

HUNDREDS of small chairs made by Abingdon schoolchildren, their parents and teachers are going on display in a world-famous gallery.

The Small Chair Field was originally an art project at Fitzharrys School, but it grew and grew, eventually seeing between 2,500 and 3,000 decorated paper chairs on display at John Mason School in July last year.

Now 400 of the chairs have gone on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London – where thousands of people will see them each day.

Nick Austin, head of art at Fitzharrys School, said: “We are extremely pleased to have our work at the Saatchi Gallery.

“What we like best about it is the fact that other schools are involved and that it has gone and influenced other people.”

The chairs range from simple painted affairs to ones adorned with feathers, wings and a variety of different materials.

Fitzharrys art teacher Sara Othen found the template online, and was originally planning to only make a few chairs before the project took off.

Inspiration for the installation was drawn from Antony Gormley’s Field, which consisted of thousands of clay sculptures made by members of the public.

The Small Chair Field went on show at the gallery for a month from yesterday, and will be used as part of the gallery’s education and workshop programme – meaning visitors will be able to try their hand at making their own chairs.

It is part of a rotating series of exhibitions showcasing student art at the Saatchi Gallery, and will be entered in the Saatchi Gallery/Sunday Telegraph Art Prize for Schools competition.

Mr Austin said: “We would like to reproduce the same kind of inspiration in people for other projects and other work.

“It just seemed to inspire everybody to be involved.

“Perhaps because it is a convenient size and people can work from a card template, it is accessible to everybody and it is not expensive to do.”

The Small Chair Field was first displayed at Fitzharrys in October 2008 with 750 chairs, then grew to 1,500 chairs when it moved to Larkmead School in March 2009, before reaching its peak at John Mason School in July.

It also went on display at the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

GCSE art student Kaylee Foster, 15, from Abingdon, said: “It took me a couple of hours to make my chair – it was pink and blue, all sorts of colours.

“I’m very proud and I hope to see the exhibition. Maybe my parents will take me.”

Fellow pupil Evi Thompson, 16, added: “I did a couple of small chairs and one big one inspired by HR Giger. It’s my interpretation of his work.”

Comments (1)

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11:50am Sat 30 Jan 10

Berty says...

I saw this in John Mason, and their gallery looked fantastic. What an achievement.
I saw this in John Mason, and their gallery looked fantastic. What an achievement. Berty
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