Kintsugi exhibition by Koo Stark and Alperton students

This month, Leica Gallery Mayfair is hosting the Kintsugi Photography and Art Installation exhibition by Koo Stark, from 5 to 26 May 2017. The exhibition is a collection of Koo Stark’s photographs capturing moments of the artist’s fascinating life over the last three decades.

As part of the exhibition, a Kinstugi Art Installation produced by Koo Stark and the Art and Design students of Alperton Community School will also be displayed on 23 May 2017 at Leica Gallery Mayfair.

Koo Stark worked with the students on this project from Spring 2016. They created a highly successful art installation that reflects on the ancient Japanese process of Kintsugi, whilst considering social issues of gender inequality and discrepancies in the UK justice system.

Kintsugi is a Japanese method of repairing broken ceramics using gold, silver or platinum; as a philosophy, it is the art of embracing the imperfect. The broken and the flawed can be transformed into wisdom and healing and the life of Koo Stark, who struggled with injustice throughout her life and overcame cancer, is in itself a reflection of this philosophy.

Kintsugi, Stark explains, is “a paradox; a way of learning to see individual beauty […] a method of portraying and visualising people and objects as they truly are, were and have become through the vicissitudes of life: perfect in imperfection.”

During the exhibition, the BBC and the other media organisations will be interviewing the Alperton students about their experience of working on this project. Present at the event will be national media, celebrities, The Elton John Foundation, The Fawcett Society, Alperton Community School art students and Armando Alemdar, Head of Art at Alperton Community School.

The students had a fantastic time working on the project and have learned enormously, both in terms of new skills and techniques, as well as life lessons. The experience of working directly with a master photographer and artist as Koo Stark was invaluable.

“We learned new art methods such as marbling, collage, photography and installation, but the most valuable experience was to learn how to express yourself through art by combining different methods with biographical information.” (Anali Pereira Y11 Art and Design student)

“In this project we examined Koo Stark’s life through the eyes of the media but also through personal documentation and it is inspirational too see that even when a person goes through hardship they can come out of it stronger. The process of ‘mending’, the Kintsugi aspect of the project, portrays this very well.” (Siuli-Mo Pal Y11 Art and Design student)

“I found the whole experience quite intriguing as I had never taken part in a long term project like this[…] it has been quite a mesmerising experience.” (Batool Choudry Y11 Art and Design student)

Headteacher Gerard McKenna commented “Alperton Community School aspires to provide every student with an outstanding education within a supportive, vibrant and stimulating learning environment. Our GCSE Art and Design students benefited from a rare opportunity to receive professional guidance during this series of workshops. They really enjoyed the experience and have broadened their sphere of knowledge by learning new working practices and techniques, whilst addressing some important social issues.”