Bedales student honours work of Winston Churchill through ambitious Art project

Bedales Block 5 (Year 11) student Xavier Pye received a congratulatory letter from his Member of Parliament after successfully completing an ambitious art project as part of his Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) Art work, the school’s alternative to GCSE.
The project consisted of a huge installation of the Union Flag made up of hundreds of printed images of Winston Churchill. Xavier hand printed each ‘pixel’ of Sir Winston to create the flag. At the installation, Xavier, with help from his parents Jonathan and Louise, set up a smoke machine and flashing lights along with a recording of Sir Winston speaking to capture the feeling of war-time Britain and the blitz on film.

The project was entitled ‘Open Their Eyes’ to raise awareness of Winston Churchill’s role in war-time Britain amongst a much younger generation. Xavier invited children from the primary school near his family home in Wiltshire to come and colour-in the eyes of Winston Churchill in each of the images.

Explaining his inspiration behind the project, Xavier said: “My younger sister Phe Phe, who is eight, inspired me by asking who Winston Churchill was. I was amazed she hadn’t heard of him. So I decided to call it ‘Open Their Eyes’. The aim was to provoke curiosity about the war and also to introduce children to interactive and fun art. They really entered into the spirit of it and had a great time. The feedback from my sister has been positive and I hope I achieved my goal of provoking questions.”

Commenting on Xavier’s work, Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales Schools, said, “This is a fine example of how effective art can be in communicating strong messages about our society. Through our unique assessment equivalent to GCSE, the Bedales Assessed Course, Xavier has been able to spread his artistic wings and use such a creative medium in a thought provoking way.”

Xavier Pye

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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