Future aspirations revealed through self portraits

30 November 2011

A selection of self portraits created by secondary school pupils from Aberdeen City and Shire will go on show from tomorrow [Thursday 01 December] at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill.

"My Future Aspirations" exhibition is a selection of forty entries chosen from 12 North-east schools which rose to this annual creative challenge, established and managed by Aberdeen-based Thorpe Molloy Recruitment.

Open to S1 and S2 pupils across the region the portraiture competition illustrates their hopes and ambitions through art for their future lives and careers. The pupils also had to submit a short narrative of no more than 50 words expressing their thoughts and feelings related to their artwork.

This is the third year of the competition but the first time the artwork has been put on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery, which comes only three weeks after the BP Portrait Award 2011 exhibition, the internationally acclaimed portrait competition, opened at the gallery.

Karen Molloy, Director, Thorpe Molloy Recruitment, said: "The competition gives pupils the opportunity to work to a real life brief and stimulates discussion and thought about their future career and life choices. Each year the submissions become more creative. We received audio, photographs, 3D sculpture in papier maché, clay, card and wire as well as 2D entries using crayon, paint, inks and fabric. There was great diversity which caused much deliberation and debate amongst the judges."

Deidre Grant, Head of Public Programmes at Aberdeen Art Gallery, added: "We are delighted to be working with Thorpe Molloy Recruitment and the My Future Aspirations project for the first time to promote young artistic talent in the North-east.
"The pupils' artwork proved to be both inventive and inspiring making selection quite a difficult task. We are very pleased to be able to show the results in exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery, giving many more people the opportunity to view and enjoy them."
The overall competition winner is James Mitchell from Turriff Academy, who shared his aspiration to become a mechanical engineer and take over the running of his family's business.

Iain Dunlop, Acting Depute Rector at Turriff Academy, explains the value of the competition: "Through this partnership with Thorpe Molloy Recruitment our pupils have the opportunity to see activities they do in school in a wider context; exactly the kind of thing Curriculum for Excellence is intended to do."

"Having their work displayed at a prestigious venue like Aberdeen Art Gallery is fantastic recognition of the creative talents of young pupils from North-east schools. Hopefully, seeing their work displayed like this gives them great credit for the efforts they have put in and will not only prove inspirational but an aspiration for those who follow."

Aberdeen based FirstGroup, the UK's largest transport operator, continues its support of the competition for a second year. Avril Gill, FirstGroup's Marketing Manager, said: "I'm very pleased we have been able to support such a fantastic competition. Encouraging young people to think about their future is very important and it was great to see so much variety and ambition in their plans for the years ahead."

The self portraits also feature in Thorpe Molloy Recruitment's 2012 calendar, which is being sold in the Aberdeen Art Gallery shop. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will be donated to Thorpe Molloy Recruitment's nominated charity, Maggie's.

My Future Aspirations exhibition is on show until 14 January 2012.
30 November 2011