Students exhibit at Art Gallery

Year 11 students display their superb talents at Rye Art Gallery

Rye News is once again delighted to be able to publish another good news story about the students from Rye College working in partnership with the local Rye community.

The Year 11, fine art and photography students, under the skilled and dedicated leadership of Lauren Loveless, Head of Arts at Rye College, have achieved something very special.

They have just finished their courses and have been given the unique opportunity to display a selection of their work at a real life “grown up” exhibition at Rye Art Gallery. Their work is in response to two main themes which they have encountered during their course studies, Fragments and Reflection.

This is a huge privilege for the students and school, a fantastic show which runs until September 1 and which has been made possible by the amazing support and unwavering commitment of Jane Fenn, Director of Rye Art Gallery and Lauren Loveless, a superb partnership which has given the young creatives the opportunity to have their voices heard.

A selection of the year 11 exhibits on display

The following is part of a statement provided by Lauren Loveless, Head of Art.

“The word reflection is an open door – an invitation to think about something deeply and from many points of view. To hold up a mirror to your subject and study all of its facets – beauties and flaws, dreams and nightmares, freedoms and restraints.

We have our eco-warriors who are appalled, disgusted and terrified by the state of the world. They have chosen to reflect on our current environmental problems – how we got here and if there are any potential solutions. One student attended the recent protests in Brighton and London, documenting the energy and passion of these events. The juxtaposition of a young girl in a crowd of desperate people is powerful, beautiful and terrifying all in one go.

Other students looked at the current politics surrounding the climate emergency, and studied historical, geographical and scientific aspects to the problems. Others looked at the direct impact on nature, focussing on plastic pollution, hunting and extinction. Each unique viewpoint juxtaposes the disgust, fear and helplessness that our young people feel about these issues with the emotion, beauty and power that their artworks convey.

Many of our students chose to reflect on issues personal to them. Self-image, beauty standards and social media are recurring themes that haunt our teenagers, and several of them took this opportunity to reflect on their thoughts and experiences. One student explored her own personal interactions with social media, and how the various platforms have given rise to her unrealistic expectations of beauty and ‘the life she should lead’.

She has juxtaposed the bright, exciting side of social media with the darkness that lies behind everyday imagery. Others have explored their own self-image, studying the psychological aspects of growing-up with their everyday lives to try and understand personal experiences better.

Politics, news and society are three themes that our students are passionate about. The freedom with which teenagers think and express themselves allows them to explore these ideas in new and exciting ways. The fear that young people feel is conveyed in several artworks here, alongside disbelief and sadness.

Students have looked at immigration, abortion, global politics, capitalism and consumerism, fake news, terrorism and war, each student choosing a subject that they feel passionately about and studying it in depth to be able to create a personal response.

Equality is a theme that our young people are adamant about, and several students have looked at gender, sexuality, mental health, women’s rights and black history in their work. Their own experiences and feelings about how others are treated informs these works, along with in-depth studies historically and socially.

The raw, unfiltered nature of a teenager’s inner thoughts, passions and contradictions is a powerful energy. The explosion of emotion in this room is testament to the dynamism and determination of our next generation and we are thrilled that Rye Art Gallery have given them the opportunity to share their voices.

The arts are being side-lined by the government in so many of our educational institutions, yet it is paramount to expression, understanding and communication that the arts are experienced by everyone. We thank Jane Fenn, Director of Rye Art Gallery for giving our students this opportunity to be heard.”

Take a look at the college website, and see what the students have achieved recently and why not show your support by visiting Rye Art Gallery, their work is on display until September 1.


Image Credits: Lauren Loveless .


  1. It is so good to see such talented work.
    The Rye Society of Artists ( please see concurrent article about its 69th Annual Exhibition)has had a policy in recent years of donating some of the proceeds of this event towards prizes for the best work by the Rye College students which is now on display at Rye Art Gallery. This year the Society was delighted to do this again as its commitment of encouraging young people in the creative arts.
    The standard achieved is outstanding and congratulations to all concerned!

  2. Students from Rye college (Thomas Peacocke) and primary schools around Rye have always contributed to exhibitions at Rye Art Gallery and many students have continued as professional artists and designers.
    The main difference is they didn’t ask for, or receive, acres of public relations announcements.

  3. It’s good to hear that the students are carrying on the tradition of producing
    top quality work and I have no doubt a good percentage of them could well
    make a career for themselves as artists or designers if they so wished. All the more reason to give them recognition and support and to use our community newspaper to tell the larger community how proud we are of them.

  4. So good to read the statement by Lauren Loveless, Head of Art, which has been included in the article. The Gallery has a tradition of collaborating with schools and showing work by the upcoming generation. What visitors to such shows don’t always consider is the dedication, imagination, fine art training and teaching skills of the art teachers behind these examination entries and exhibitions.
    I hope the show gets lots of visitors, if only to follow up on the information Lauren has given on the crucial topics and creative teaching which have inspired the students. Yes, of course the show should be publicised and celebrated.


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