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Students from Bukayo Saka's old school in new art display

Nine GCSE Art Greenford High School students have taken part in an art project with artist Matt Small, and their work is now on display as part of Matt Small’s exhibition Above & Beyond at Gunnersbury Park Museum.

Above & Beyond showcases Matt Small’s portraits of England footballers Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Markus Rashford and Gareth Southgate. These four altruistic individuals have inspired many with their kindness, bravery and generosity. The exhibit shows how we can all be mindful and considerate, to go above and beyond the call of duty to make our society a more beautiful place to be.

Greenford High School was invited to take part in the ‘Above & Beyond’ project to celebrate the link to Bukayo Saka, who was a student at Greenford High School. Students worked with Matt Small to produce artwork inspired by his portraits. The students’ artworks represent their feelings in the face of the challenges they faced during lockdown: from school closures, online schooling, difficult family situations with parents under intense pressures and being cut off from friends and family. Matt Small asked the students to reflect on how they coped during those times and all the things they did, whether big or small, that helped out and put others first. They channelled their feelings into painting self-portraits that celebrate those characteristics.

The finished art works are now on display at Gunnersbury Park Museum.

Matt Small With Portraits
Teacher Georgia Pawelko with artist Matt Small

Georgia Pawelko, Art teacher at Greenford High School said, “Our students were so excited and proud of the work they produced. Their skills and confidence have developed so much throughout the sessions.”

Matt Small said, “These self-portraits are a tribute to all the young people that made a difference by being mindful and considerate of others during the pandemic. It is important for them to reflect back and realise that alongside the amazing nurses, doctors and front-line workers children have played a huge part in the efforts to get us all through these difficult times. We should applaud and commend them for this. What a pleasure it was to do the workshops with the lovely pupils of Greenford High…what a talented bunch they are.”

Gareth Brettell, Learning Officer at Gunnersbury said “We are grateful for the funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which has enabled us to be a part of art projects such as this and we are delighted to highlight the efforts of local students. Their art looks amazing within the spectacular setting of this historic house and we encourage visitors to come and enjoy it during the half term.”

The exhibition is free to enter and will be on display until 31st October 2021.

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