Student artwork goes up for auction at Art for Ark

On Tuesday 21 March Ark hosted “Art for Ark,” an auction arranged in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has supported Ark since 2004, most recently working with Mathematics Mastery to help transform maths attainment across the UK.

Forty-five pieces of artwork from students and teachers across the Ark network were hung in London’s famed Saatchi Gallery. Guests, including staff from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, were invited to bid on the pieces in a silent auction.

Money raised from the event will go back to the schools involved. One piece, titled ‘The Artist’ by teacher Sarah Sandeman, raised £10,000 for the Art department at her school, Ark Academy in Wembley, London.

We spoke to some of the students who submitted pieces, to find out what inspired them and how they felt seeing their artwork hung in the Saatchi Gallery.

Joanna Ahmed, Ark King Solomon Academy

“My piece is a merging of anatomy and nature – the two most important aspects of life, humans and what we see around us on a daily basis. So I just brought those two together which was done by many artists before, but I just put my own twist on it.

I didn’t want to do regular flowers and trees, I wanted to just mix it up a little bit, add my own twist on it and how I see the world.

I’ve done Art since Year 7. Watercolour paintings are probably my favourite.

My teacher is incredible. She definitely helped me a lot with inspiration, lots of ideas and techniques. I’m very grateful for her.

This is almost surreal. I would never imagine my artwork to be anywhere, let alone a gallery!”

Kamil Wilkowski, Ark Charter Academy

“I was looking at this artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, and I liked the way she was using normal things like shells and flowers and mixing them together. So I used the same style and created my piece. It’s the first time I’ve been inspired by her, and the first time I have used acrylic on canvas, it was hard, but I got used to it. I would like to experiment with it a bit more. My teacher, Ms Bryce, helped me with some of the really tricky bits.

I’m in college right now, I’m not studying Art anymore but I’m still drawing in my spare time at home. It feels great to have my painting up here. I came all the way from Portsmouth just to see it.”

Samantha Mye Eseohen Perry, Ark John Keats Academy

“The title is ‘Jam City’. I was thinking about how small the world is.

It feels exciting but a little bit uncomfortable at the same time to see my painting here. It’s a great opportunity and I didn’t think I would actually get to have a piece of work be hung up in a really cool gallery.

My family went silent when I first told them, then they were really happy! They told me I can’t come back without any photos.

I just really like to draw, when it just comes to my head, to just put it somewhere. Mum always told me that I used to draw on everything. If I was given a pen I would just draw everywhere. I still do now. Finding something to put my time into and seeing an outcome really makes me feel happy.

I chose Art for GCSE and I am hoping to do it at A-Level too. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Sir Paul Marshall, Chair of Ark Schools, commented, “We were delighted to receive so many entries to this year’s competition and this evening serves to highlight the creativity, talent and passion of our students and their art teachers. This evening would not be possible without our partners, Bank of America Merrill Lynch. We are most grateful for their ongoing support.”