From Brexit to Buddhism, the multi-media work on display from past and present students of Queen Elizabeth High School (QEHS) at their annual exhibition at the Queen’s Hall, Presence, reflected the causes and interests close to these young people’s hearts.

The postcard for the event was a digital painting drawn by 19-year-old Hermione Mcnamary, a past student of the school, who was interested in human diversity, a theme which she also felt was connected to her experience studying art A-Level at QEHS.

“We were lucky enough to always be encouraged to be our authentic selves, and find our own style, both in art and in a wider sense,” Hermione said.

Hermione has gone on to study graphic and illustration at Teesside University, but said she’s thankful for her time at sixth form for helping her grow as an artist, and prepare for her career in the arts.

“QE taught me to push boundaries, and think outside of the box, not simply conform to traditional methods of art. I’m really thankful for that opportunity, because it’s given me confidence to try new things at university.”

International conflict and spiritualism were the inspiration behind 19-year-old Phoebe Speed’s acrylic self-portrait, which she painted after her two visits to Southern India on school trips.

“I took so much away from my time over there,” Phoebe said, “especially about my own spirituality and beliefs, and I wanted to express that through my art. The Tibetan prayer flags represent values such as kindness and compassion, which I think we need much more of in the world.”

Phoebe also addressed the Tibetan and Chinese conflict through her artwork, an issue which she felt is ignored by much of the media.

“I used an art technique called emulsion to transfer snippets of Indian newspapers to the canvas, to make the political point about the death rates which have occurred in the conflict.”

Nineteen-year-old Amos Menin, who had left QEHS to study film at the Northern Film School, used his interest in vintage noir films and their staple character of the femme fatale to create his five photography pieces.

“Because there is no colour in traditional noir films, the emphasis is on the light and the shadows, which was a new challenge for me,” Amos said.

Capturing the Gothic on camera was 19-year-old foundation art student Morgan Wymes-Arthur, who was inspired by the eerie architecture of a Parisian graveyard which he had visited on a school trip, whilst student Amina Mwande’s artwork depicting a woman of colour shrouded in a St. George’s flag, and left viewers to form their own interpretation how the piece addressed themes on Brexit and nationalism.

Also on display was a photography piece by current year thirteen art student Hallie Poppy Dixon, who was moved by the atmosphere she’d felt on a visit to the site of Twin Tower tragedy, which led her to capture on camera a single rose left at the scene.

Along with art teacher William Pym, Hallie has also played a instrumental part in helping to organise the exhibition, as part of the national Arts Award scheme.

“Working on the exhibition has been a really valuable and rewarding learning experience,” Hallie said.

“This is a very competitive industry, but one which I want to work in, so the more I have on my CV to help me stand out from the crowd the better my chances.”

Presence will run from Friday, June 7 until Saturday, July 13.