Parents in class of their own
Parents at Raffles International School have been re-discovering childhood passions, thanks to an art exhibition with a difference
Think back to your school days and the activities you loved most.
They were probably not connected with maths or science and more likely involved getting messy moulding clay pots, perfecting your papier mache or releasing your inner Gaudi in art class.
Inevitably, as work and family life begin to consume all of our grown-up time, we forget about the simple things that made us smile when we were young. But parents at Raffles International School have been re-discovering childhood passions, thanks to an art exhibition with a difference.
On a mission to encourage mums and dads to get creative, raise money for a good cause and bring the community into the classroom, teacher Michelle Jenkins decided to hold an exhibition consisting entirely of art work and photography by parents and staff. She explains: “Wherever I am and wherever I’ve travelled I’ve always done art, I find it relieves stress. Also, back in Canada I grew up in a really-close knit community and I thought by doing this I could bring the community into the school – get parents who once enjoyed art interested in it again. We’re all creative
in different ways but in this fast-paced world we live in too often we neglect true beauty and the splendor of art.”
With parents asked to donate a percentage of sales of their work to the American Hospital of Dubai, to be used in the fight against Cancer, there is more than one motivating factor for these adult artists. Michelle adds: “Cancer affects most of us. Back home right now both my father and my aunt are struggling with cancer. The parents were keen to donate and we asked that they give 10 per cent but many said they wanted to give more.
“It’s been a really nice community event – seeing fathers with their children talking to the teachers and everyone being able to talk about something unrelated to schoolwork and exams.”
“Back in Canada I grew up in a really-close knit community and I thought by doing this I could bring the community into the school – get parents who once enjoyed art interested in it again. We’re all creative in different ways but in this fast-paced world we live in too often we neglect true beauty and the splendor of art”
–Michelle Angela Jenkins
WALTER TARELLO, ITALIAN
I’m a veterinarian, that’s why I decided to paint animals. It was something different to my day job and something I’ll hopefully continue into retirement. I know that as a boy I was very good at drawing but it’s something I haven’t done for the last three years. I’m writing a book about leopards and that’s why I started to draw leopards but I think I’ll still use a professional artist for illustrations in my book!
MICHELLE BAKER, PANAMANIAN
My children love my photos but it’s the first time I’ve framed any of them and now I really want to do more. I’m a fashion designer but I’d love to take a professional photography course now. I thought I’d get involved because it’s for a good cause.
KARIN GLOEDE, GERMAN
I enjoy painting and my friend Bettina and I also make these paper stars which take three hours to finish and consist of 30 pieces of paper.
PRIYADARSHINI PANDIT, INDIAN
It’s been great to have an opportunity to display some of my work and find out what other people think. I paint as much as I can, I graduated from Bombay University, from the school of arts and right now I’m doing a series on Mumbai. I help my four-year-old son with his paintings as well.
SUSANNA ALLEGRA, ITALIAN
I’m an art graduate but I never pursued it. I became a nursery teacher and I also teach zumba now and only do art here and there. I use henna and food colouring to create my pictures and I really enjoy it. Sometimes if I want to give someone a present but I can’t afford an expensive gift I’ll paint them something and it’s a lot more personal.
BITA KARIMI, IRANIAN
Sometimes I can’t do much painting because of my child but I have exhibited before many times back in galleries in Iran. I like to paint very much – when I do it I just think about art and don’t think about any problems or stress!