Students call for wiser use of money in online exhibition

The annual exhibition features art from students in the UK and Sweden

The annual exhibition features art from students in the UK and Sweden

16 Jun 2023, 12:00

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More than 140 students from 51 colleges will have their work displayed as part of a national exhibition that explores the theme of sustainability.

The online exhibition was launched this week by the Sixth Form College Association and features hundreds of films, paintings, podcasts and music pieces. More than 600 young people from Sweden were also involved through their Pengar! project alongside 146 students from UK sixth form colleges.

“Pengar” means “money” in Swedish, and exhibition explores “how the dynamics of money, finance and sustainability are connected, in the past, the present and the future”, association chief executive Bill Watkin said.

“The detrimental effect our relationship with money has on human systems, our planet and all living beings is becoming crystal clear,” he added. “Money is a tool – abundance or lack of it orchestrates our dreams and aspiration, as well as our fears and nightmares. Ultimately it affects our future.

“Pengar! is a project that calls for action, to use money with discernment and wisdom, in service of all living beings and our planet.”

Sixth form art focuses on rewilding, plastic pollution and cost-of-living

Students took on some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, such as sustainability, the need to rewild and modern slavery. Woodhouse College’s Harerta Tesfay is one of those whose art, called “Bigfin Squid and it is plastic”, on display.

Tesfay said the message of the piece was to call on humans to adapt to “live sustainable lives and combat global warming”, just as squid can use their chromatophores to change colour in threatening situations.

“‘Bigfin Squid and it is Plastic’ represents polluted oceans and how beautiful creatures like squids, who live so far from humans, can be affected by pollution. To live sustainable lives, we must adjust our way of living so that we can save our planet from global warming,” Tesfay said.

Romany Jarrettrock’s piece, “Fast Food”, features a woman with her head in her hands surrounded by empty McDonalds cartons. Jarrettrock, who is a fine art student at Richard Huish College in Taunton, Somerset, said that, without the convenience of fast food, you are only left with the “damage it causes” to bodies, the environment and life in general.

“The detrimental effect our relationship with money has on human systems, our planet and all living beings is becoming crystal clear”

“It is only when we remove the layer of convenience that we notice the obvious wrongs of this industry. These damages are what I have intended to portray in my painting, to make you look closer to notice the wrongs.”

Charlotte Clowes’ “Submerged” artwork meanwhile comments on the “devastating use of water in the fashion industry” It features a photograph of a person in a dress submerged in water in a swimming pool. 

“Its ambiguity reflects the conflict of young people’s feelings around our planet’s future, with elements of feeling suffocated and helpless, being dragged down by our obsession with clothing, yet also expressing hope that we are still within reach of safety,” Clowes, from The Blackpool Sixth Form College, added. Though the confines of the swimming pool “suggest security and even the possibility of rescue”, they also surround the person in a “man-made environment of treated water far removed from the natural world”. 

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