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Seni Budaya – Middle School students bringing culture alive

By Rebecca Maynard, Head of Art and Ian Tymms, Head of English, East Campus Middle School
10 August 2021

MS Art in Residence - East Campus

Seni Budaya is an annual festival celebrating the arts and culture across the Middle School at East Campus. At least that’s what it’s meant to be: after a joyous inaugural festival in 2019, 2020 was lost to the vagaries of COVID-19.

In 2021 there were high hopes for a second live celebration late in Term 3. A new element was a collaboration between Art and English to bring Grade 8 poetry into the mix and early in the school year the curriculum was adapted to have students exploring connections. This work was particularly inspired by the work of ceramicist Todd Barricklow in art and by Singaporean poet Neil Daswani and photographer Anita Thomas.

And then came COVID … again; initially creating limitations on live performances and then, after reversion to home-based learning in mid-May, ensuring there was no possibility of anything live at all. By this time, however, Anita Thomas had joined us as a visiting artist to run a 10 week Activity preparing for Seni Budaya.
The original brief was for Anita to use her skills as a filmmaker to work with a group of Middle School students creating a film to open the Seni Budaya event. Somewhere during this activity, it became clear that we needed more than an introductory film and the Middle School Seni Budaya website is the result.

The arts are a celebration of creativity and talent, but they are also a celebration of the hard work, perseverance and resilience of those who create. COVID-19 has demanded levels of resilience many of us didn’t know we had, but it has also brought out the best of our creativity as we have worked to find new ways to do things and solutions to the challenges of a world turned upside down.

MS Art in Residence - East Campus

The threads of these yarns twist and connect to make us strong together.

- Ian Tymms

The Seni Budaya website, and the work it showcases, is a testament to the spirit of our Middle School students; to their resilience, determination and creativity. We are enormously grateful to Anita Thomas and the many individuals who contributed to this project.
Explore the exhibition website, which is organised across the disciplines of Art, Dance, Drama, Food, Music and Poetry!