A party of second year Fine Art students from De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester returned full of inspiration this week from a residency at the Cyprus College of Art.
The 19-strong group enjoyed an eight-day stay at the college set in the village of Lempa, just north of the historic town of Paphos. The trip was organised as part of the innovative #DMUglobal programme, which provides students with international experiences on campus and overseas. The students also made a visit to the capital, Nicosia.
Yet it wasn’t just the change of scene, exchange of ideas, Zorba dancing and afternoon swims that did so much to revitalise the students – they were introduced in particular to ‘Aμφοίν’, or mutual art and had the chance to create art works which required them to collaborate with other artists in their group. Their collaborative art culminated in an exhibition at the end of the week.
“This trip was something you could never comprehend beforehand but once there, it was an experience you will never forget,” said Charlotte Wells, one of the second year Fine Art students included on the trip.
Fellow student Matthew Vaughan felt equally inspired: “This has been an amazing experience – the culture and ethos of Cyprus will have a lasting effect on me and my work, the vibrant college environment allowing me to produce work in a way I hadn’t tried before, with the introduction of collaborative work.
“This experience was the highlight of my year and it’s the best I’ve felt about my work in ages.”
Keesha Carpenter, also studying Fine Art, agreed: “It was great to experience a new culture and also create work in a different environment, using material and making art which I never would have usually tried.
“This will benefit me in the future in terms of opening my mind to try new things and leave my comfort zone.”
Page Utterly-Plunckett, Fine Art student, added: “Cyprus gave me the chance to work in collaboration, influencing different approaches and I would love to collaborate again in the future.”
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Leila Galloway, pointed to the all-round value of the Cyprus project to the students’ development:
“Students experienced what it is like to make meaningful interconnections, discovering how to share and actively participate whilst making art with fellow students, in unfamiliar settings, for the very first time.
“This September, these students will use their newfound skills to run workshops in local schools, in collaboration with DMU Square Mile.”
The writer Mark Twain encouraged us to “... throw off your bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Like so many others at DMU, these Fine Art students look to have thrived on a like-minded quest for new experiences, fresh knowledge and adventure.
Posted on Thursday 28th May 2015