School sculptures unveiled

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A pair of inspiring sculptures designed by pupils at a local secondary school has been unveiled.

Students from Chestnut Grove School in Balham created the works as part of their GCSE art and design course.

One of the eye-catching pieces, 'Aspiration' designed by fifteen year-old Shapali Kalamby, sits high on a plinth by the main entrance of the school. The other, ‘Inspiration’, designed by fifteen year-old Varunan Kumar, has been placed inside the school's main foyer.

Sculptures on this scale are not usually attempted by schools due to the cost and specialist skills involved. However, Chestnut Grove holds 'visual arts specialist status', entitling the school to additional funding to deliver the innovative project.

Renowned local sculptor, Diarmuid Byron-O'Connor, worked with the school's art department to run special sessions with the students. As well as learning how to design and create the magnificent artworks the students were taught about the commercial side of the art world.

The 15 pupils involved managed the budget themselves and were given deadlines to complete their commissions.

Each participant developed their ideas and created small-scale models of their designs. A panel of experts then picked two of them to be developed into full size sculptures.

The school hopes to continue the project for the next four or five years with the aim of creating a Chestnut Grove sculpture trail.

Head teacher Margaret Peacock said: "This was a hugely rewarding experience for the pupils involved and we hope other schools will be inspired to take on similar projects."

Wandsworth Council's executive member for children's services Cllr Kathy Tracy said: "The sculptures are remarkable. Congratulations to pupils and school staff for bringing this innovative project to life."

Chestnut Grove is one of 21 Wandsworth schools rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted, more than any other London borough

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