This latest addition to the front lawn at College is based on a work called Field (1991) by “Angel of the North” artist Antony Gormley. He took this idea around the world, employing local people to make simple figures from locally sourced clay to make around 44,000 each time.
College students made around 5,000 figures, mostly in Year 9. They each made a family of clay figures in the style of Gormley’s, featureless but with the staring eyes.
The process in College was linked to work on The Holocaust.
Every member of their little family had to have a name and a story, in this way, the students became close to their clay family. Some members of each family were then removed without explanation. This was a way in to trying to get them to understand how the events of The Holocaust must have affected the victims.
It was quite successful in getting them to empathise: students were very protective of their family members and some cried when certain ones were removed and taken away.
The different colours represent the variety in humankind.
This project took place over a long time, with many students involved.
This Summer students from Post 16 alongside some construction students created the base and mounted the figures into what will be their permanent home.
The clay figures made by Gormley are difficult to emulate, but the simplicity of the figures helps underline the way in which it is easy to de-personalise groups of people and see them in simple stereotypes.
The variety of colours were created by firing the clay in open ovens – allowing students to be involved in every part of the process.
The result is a striking addition to the front of the College.