Wysing Arts Centre and St Peter’s School, Huntingdon, are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership that sees artist Rafal Zajko collaborate with 270 Year 7 students to create a significant new public art commission based around their desires for the future. The artist was selected by the students back in June, the resulting artwork will be presented at St Peter's School and at Wysing Arts Centre in September 2023.
So far, the students have been invited by Rafal to use drawing, collage, and creative writing to imagine what they might like to protect or change for the future. They have designed time capsules, and used Artificial Intelligence to explore the future of living, working, learning and farming in Huntingdon. The creative invitations draw on the artist’s Polish working-class roots, his family history of working in fields and factories, and his resulting fascination in the relationship between the body and technology.
The project has developed through a long-standing relationship between St Peter’s School and Wysing Arts Centre, where artists have been delivering a creative workshops programme in school and at Wysing since 2019. This new way of working will enable better links between the school community at Wysing, with a family celebration planned at the school and part of the commission featured at Wysing Arts Centre. We hope that the project can set a model for future school and arts organisation engagement in the region and beyond.
Rafał Zajko is a polish artist based in London, UK. His work deals with issues around the industrial past exploring its environmental impact in relation to working class heritage and queer identities. His sculptural practice incorporates diverse materials and processes, including ceramic, ventilation systems, prosthetics, and performance as a means to examine folklore, science fiction and queer technoscience; placing emphasis on the industrial materials and processes that resonate with and honor his heritage.
Rafał Zajko (b. 1988, Białystok, Poland) lives and works in London, UK. He holds an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art, London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include Amber Waves II, Galeria Fran Reus, Palma, Mallorca (2022). SLOT, Abingdon Studios , Blackpool, UK (2022), Song to the Siren, Cooke Latham Gallery, London (2022), Amber Waves at Public Gallery, London (2021), Resuscitation, Castor Projects, London, UK (2020); We Were Here/My Tu Bylismy, Galeria Im. Slendzinskich, Białystok, Poland (2019); Unputdownable, White Cubicle, London (2018). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including shows at London Open 2022, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, New Contemporaries 2021, South London Gallery, X Museum, Beijing, China (2020); Bold Tendencies, London, UK (2020); Grand Union, Birmingham (2019) Goswell Rd, Paris, France (2019); Ashes/Ashes, New York, USA (2019); EXILE, Vienna, Austria (2019); Vitrine, Basel, Switzerland (2019); Litost, Prague, Czech Republic (2018); Focal Point Gallery, Southend, UK (2016)
About St Peter’s School
At St Peter’s we believe that, as educators, we can and must make a difference to the lives of the young people in our care. We work to ensure that the school enables our students to maximise their potential whatever their ability, background, culture or belief. We have high expectations and aspirations for all our students, and we work to prepare them fully for the future beyond our school, recognising, nurturing and celebrating individual skills and talents
St Peter’s School are delighted to be able to offer all year 7 students the opportunity to take part in the Learn, Aspire, Exceed (LAE) Curriculum. The LAE curriculum has been specifically tailored for St Peter’s students to give them an opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills outside of the normal curriculum. The LAE curriculum is purely focused on inspiration which nurtures our ‘Learn, Aspire, Exceed’ philosophy, making learning a joy. The majority of the Wysing Art sessions will be part of the Learn Aspire Exceed Curriculum.
St Peter’s School believes that this extended curriculum gives opportunities for students to enhance their learning and the different job roles and responsibilities associated with more practical work. Research shows that participation in extra-curricular activities can positively impact on attainment, increase a pupil’s positive identification with school, and build self-confidence and resilience. Research also shows that children that do not have access to these opportunities fall behind, lack confidence, and fail to develop career aspirations.
This Wysing Art project will play a significant part in inspiring our future students to become engaged in extracurricular activities. This project will also impact our student leaders and our Art Ambassadors across all years by supporting the development of their leadership skills, and support further communication between the school and the community which is crucial for the development of the school in further years.