Monday, 15th July 2024

Monday, 15th July 2024

Art teachers are artists too at this exhibition

29 May 2024

At the annual MOE Art Teachers’ Exhibition, we catch up with three teacher-artists who reveal the meaning behind their artwork and how creating art inspires them to seed more creativity in their classrooms.


In an annual showcase by teacher-artists, 66 teachers took part in the MOE Art Teachers’ Exhibition this year.

The event gives them a chance to put on their hats as practising artists to pursue their first love of art. The result is 47 individual and collective artworks across mediums and themes that are close to their hearts.

Here, three teacher-artists talk to Schoolbag about their exhibits and what they wish to tell their students through it.

School scenes: “Look around us! There’s love and support all around”

“My artwork is inspired by my colleagues and what I see in the staff room – the friendly chit chat, and how everyone looks out for one another,” says Ms Nursheela Binte Rustamaji from West Grove Primary.

In the 3-D display presenting a clear view of the staff room, she made the characters ‘pop out’ of her artwork to bring focus to the people and friendships.

“I drew examples of how teachers give and receive support. For instance, there’s a mentoring session between two teachers on the left! There are actually four other pairs of teachers helping each other in the picture.”

“I tell my students that if we look around, we’ll see so many forms of friendship and support. This piece is a reminder to myself, my colleagues, and students that we’re not alone.”

Lifelong learning: “Not everything has to be perfect”

For Ms Pooja Kanade of Kranji Secondary, it was all about telling a digital story where the main character discovers her strength.

She may as well have been describing herself when she decided to plunge into a new realm of artistic expression. “This is my first foray into animation!” she reveals. “I spent close to three months during the school holidays learning GIF animation. I used all sorts of resources – YouTube, online courses… even TikTok!

“Back in the classroom, I tell my students not to be afraid to learn new things. I admit to them that there are portions of my animation that I wish were smoother. I use this to encourage them to ‘just try’. There’s no need to be perfect!”

Courage to try: “Even if you fail, there’s beauty in trying”

Mr Kelvin Lim from St Gabriel’s Secondary had a ‘simple’ idea for his painting – to enable nature to be the artist on a canvas.

He would hang a paintbrush at an angle to catch the wind, and see what brushstrokes and patterns form on the painting.

“I had so many moments of failures before this painting came to life! It was more difficult than expected!” he says. His students couldn’t estimate the work involved. “In fact, when my students first saw this painting, their first reactions were that it  looks so simple’.

So Mr Lim extended the challenge to them.

“I tried this with a group of students while in Thailand. My students and I were visiting another school there as part of cultural exchange programme. During our free time, we decided to recreate this set-up to see what painting we could get. Even after three hours, nothing happened. We had to find the right wind conditions – to the extent to tracking the monsoon.”

He believes that the joys – and pains – of art is not always about the results but the lessons learned in the process.

“I take the opportunity to share my process of trying, and trying, and trying with them. Art is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about discovering more about ourselves and embracing mistakes.”


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