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Sixth Form Art and Photography students attend an all-day workshop at Ely Cathedral with Syrian artist  Sara Shamma

Sixth Form Art and Photography students attend an all-day workshop at Ely Cathedral with Syrian artist  Sara Shamma

Three St Mary's Sixth Form Art and Photography students, Lola HH., Daisy D., and Martha F. were invited to attend an all-day workshop at Ely Cathedral with Syrian artist Sara Shamma, during which she discussed the content and meaning of her images and the importance of the messages they convey.

Ely Cathedral’s Lady’s Chapel is currently hosting an exhibition that highlights modern slavery and human trafficking. It features work created by London-based Syrian artist Sara Shamma, the exhibition is her personal response to the plight of enslaved Yazidi women and girls. She aimed to draw attention to the psychological effect of modern slavery and the impact it has on womens’ lives. Sara Shamma is a renowned for tackling art that focuses on humanity expressed mainly through painted portraits. The importance of storytelling and narrative is paramount in her work. Shamma has a long-standing interest in the psychology associated with the suffering of individuals and has made work on the subject of war, modern slavery and human trafficking. Shamma’s work can be seen here.

Shamma spoke about her way of working and the techniques she uses to create her artwork. The students were able to take part in a practical workshop led by her. The students then produced a double page investigation on the artist in their sketchbook - which supports the contextual studies for their creative A Levels.  

Daisy D. said of the day: ‘This exhibition was thought provoking and heart wrenching, each piece having a deep and emotional meaning behind it. I loved the way Shamma expressed such a distressing topic through different media in such an eye opening way.’ 

Martha F., said of the exhibition: ‘I found the experience very eye-opening. Sara Shamma is an incredibly inspirational artist, and her work was both amazing and harrowing. The exhibition will definitely influence my own artwork in the future.’ 

Ms Conroy, Head of Art At St Mary's School, Cambridge said; 

It is vital that A Level students have first-hand experience of working with professional artists so they understand the creative process within the Visual Arts. Reflecting on the career of an artist like Shamma, who has integrity and reflects the human condition, can open their eyes to the possibilities of a career in Visual Arts ’. 

Find out more about art at St Mary's School, Cambridge.