An impressive new mural has been unveiled by students at Highbridge’s King Alfred School Academy.

Some 15 students inspired by one of the world’s best artists have produced the new art fit for the Tate Gallery.

The students have produced four 8×4-foot designs which were inspired by cutting-edge artist Andrew Burns Colwill four years ago whilst he masterminded the world’s largest King Alfred mural at the academy.

The students, supported by school staff, have completed the designs featuring portraits of some of the world’s best artists in history, including those Picasso and Van Gogh.

One student, Matthew Bartlett, was a Year 10 when he started and now after a Grade 9 GCSE and A* Level at the Sixth Form, he is now applying for a degree course at Oxford University in fine art.

Andrew says: “The mural is amazing! I’m so pleased that the students got to do the piece and finally got it finished. They must be very proud its a cracking piece of work.”

The students were chosen in 2019 out of the gifted and talented students in years 7 to 10 at the academy when Nathan Jenkins was Principal.

Mr Jenkins then chose his favourite design which was produced by Matthew and Olivia Eveleigh.

The other students were Seth Barnshaw, Liv Eveleigh, Amy Badland, Poppy Cem, Shera Akma, Sam Olbrechts, Will Jones, Tia Cox, Demi-Leigh Cox, Sam Fisher, Reece Maxwell, Tia Taylor, Robin Rosser and lettering by Caitlin Hopkins and Carrie Simpson.

The teachers who trained and encouraged the students included Michelle Jefferies, Katie Moore and art technician Catherine Thackstone.

The artists chosen to be depicted were Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Karlo, Maggie Hambling, Elena Gual, Otto Dix, H.R.Giger, Kara Walker Luke Dixon Abby Diamond, Jean Michel Basquait and Chuck Close.

Mr Jenkins, now CEO of the Priory Learning Trust, says: “This is a real wow! set of murals by the students. It has to be seen to be believed. Truly incredible art beyond their years.”

“It would not be out of place at the Tate Gallery. Covid19 could not stop them. Well done to each and every one of the students.”

Several of the students are now intent on art careers. Tia Taylor has gone on to a full time art and design course at college. Caitlin is in year 13 doing her A level art. Tia Cox and Sam both got their GCSE art and Tia is now taking A level art at TKASA Sixth Form. Demi-Leigh and Reece are taking GCSE art and design in Year 10 and 11.

Poppy went on to college to study art and design and now has gone on to study makeup prosthetics art.

Current Principal Dan Milford adds: “We encourage creativity, ambition and determination at TKASA and every one of these students have demonstrated this in abundance. Their work is being seen every day by hundreds of students, staff and visitors.”

The historical 35-foot King Alfred the Great portrait was painted in 2019 at TKASA as part of a celebration of Somerset Day.

Andy, a world-renowned artist, mixed history with the modern world and itwas unveiled to the school’s 1200 students alongside a day of fun educational activities including other artwork, historical re-enactments, assemblies, and competitions.

In the unique mural, King Alfred The Great has a paintbrush instead of a sword with two children sitting with a pile of books at his feet. There is a Viking on his left hand side and a Saxon on his right hand side – both looking a little confused and tired with their weapons down to the ground.


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