PUPILS from Glan Afan Comprehensive School have unveiled a new exhibition of art inspired by Michael Sheen’s production of The Passion.
The seven paintings depict scenes from the ground-breaking landscape theatre production that was performed in Port Talbot last Easter and featured a cast of more than 1,000 local people, including the Baglan-born film star Michael Sheen.
Some of the year 9 children had roles in The Passion, but all had seen the performances, and were inspired to put their impressions on canvas.
The project was the brainchild of local artist Dawn Rees, who had been doing work experience in the art department at the school.
“I wanted to do an out-of-school-hours project with the children,” said Dawn. “When we came to deciding what the paintings would show, their interest was The Passion. The documentaries were being shown on television at the time, and some of them had performed as well. They were really enthusiastic and really fired up about The Passion, so that’s what we chose.”
Using a pop-art style, the pupils researched photographs of the production, projecting them onto the canvas and tracing around the shapes to make outlines and produce the bright and colourful paintings.
Supervising the project was the school’s head of art, Stephen Turner.
“We chose the work of Roy Lichtenstein as a style, because we thought that would really bring out the colours and the passion of The Passion,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed. It’s had a big impact on them, and on the other pupils in the school who’ve been able to see the paintings develop over time.”
Head teacher Sue Handley was delighted that the children had made the most of working with Dawn Rees.
She said: “I just think it’s a fantastic opportunity for our children, who were inspired and influenced by The Passion. It brought the whole community together, people from all walks of life, and I think young people get so much bad press these days, it’s great to see a story about children who’ve been prepared to commit their time to something that’s clearly made such a difference to them.”
Michael Sheen was represented at the opening of the exhibition by his parents, Meyrick and Irene.
“I think Michael is really pleased that The Passion’s had such a positive effect,” said Meyrick Sheen. “I will be sending photographs of all the paintings to him by email, and he’s hoping to come and sign some of them on his next visit home.”
The exhibition will be in Aberafan Shopping Centre for a week from August 8, and then in St Mary’s Church until September 1. After their public exhibitions, they will be hung permanently in the school.