A recent series of year assemblies at Heart of England which began by seemingly being about art history soon turned out to be about something much deeper and more thought-provoking.
Led by Vice-Principal Gethyn Bennett with Principal Jacqueline Hughes-Williams, Mr Bennett used images of Pointillist art by George Seurat and Vincent van Gogh to show how the artists used small points of colour rather than blended brush strokes to create their paintings.
The technique of Pointillism allows very bright, individual colours to be placed together in dots or very small brush strokes, which when viewed from a distance, blend into a whole picture. The effectiveness of this technique is evident when comparing a close-up of a painting with a view from further away.
Mr Bennett explained: “Really though, this is more than about art. I want you to think about this more laterally. I say, ‘Good Morning’ to everyone I see every day. It’s one tiny comment on top of many thousands of interactions you may have in a day. Like little dots.” He went on to ask, what if one of those little dots or interaction is not so pleasant or positive?
The idea was explored further with thoughts about how unkind and unpleasant ‘dots’ can build up. Over a whole picture, a whole day, there may be hundreds of negative points. “How would you feel as an individual if you look at the bigger picture? Each point is sharp and pointed. An unkind word, an unkind look,” said Mr Bennett.
After watching a short video about Small Acts of Kindness, Miss Hughes-Williams addressed the students to say that this assembly was not just about our core value of Kindness but about Kindness Plus. “This is kindness with added courage. ‘Do you have the courage to be kind?’” she quoted from one of the speakers in the film.
Everyone is painting a picture from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave school. “You know what the dots are on your picture, but you don’t know what someone else’s picture is like to them – how they are feeling.
“The people you become will shape what the world will become. You are the ones that will make a difference,” said Miss Hughes-Williams.
Mr Bennett ended the assembly with a quote from Stephen Sondheim: “Pointillism takes emotional images… and makes them all come together and make a whole that tells a story.”