Turner Prize winning artist holds exhibition in his former Hackney school

Artist Oscar Murillo.

Artist Oscar Murillo stands in the sports hall of his former Cardinal Pole Catholic School with stacks of canvasses from across the world. - Credit: Oscar Murillo - Frequencies

A Turner Prize-winning artist has returned to his Hackney school after 19 years, to exhibit 40,000 canvasses decorated by students from around the globe. 

Former Cardinal Pole Catholic School student Oscar Murillo unveiled his latest project Frequencies last week (July 23) for the first time. It brings together thousands of canvasses decorated with doodles and drawings by students from across the world. 

Oscar said his trip back to the Homerton school on Morning Lane is more of a "symbolic return" as it is now housed in a different building to the one he attended

Oscar Murillo's exhibition Frequencies.

The exhibit will run until the end of August. - Credit: Oscar Murillo - Frequencies

Oscar said: "There are three members of staff that are here that were there back then when I was a student.

"It's beautiful to connect with them and that helps to give this whole experience a personal touch and familiarity."

A canvass from Oscar Murillo's Frequencies exhibit.

A canvass created by a student from Istituto Superiore Isaac Newton school in Padova, Italy in November 2014. - Credit: © Frequencies Foundation

Oscar began the Frequencies project in 2013 in Colombia, where he now lives.


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Students marked blank canvases fixed to their desks with doodles and drawings, names of friends and logos.

Oscar then revisited Cardinal Pole and was inspired to take the project to countries around the world.

The art project got students from different countries to decorate canvasses strapped to their desks. 

The art project got students from different countries to decorate canvasses strapped to their desks. - Credit: © Frequencies Foundation

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The Colombian-born artist worked with political scientist Clara Dublanc who brought the project to 350 schools in 34 countries. The pair have also formed the Frequencies Foundation to support research and fund education and art projects. 

The exhibition is being held in the school's sports hall and will run until the end of August. 

Oscar Murillo.

Oscar was originally born in Colombia where he now lives and moved to the UK when he was 10 years old. He attended Cardina - Credit: Oscar Murillo - Frequencies

The global project is made up of 40,000 canvasses drawn on by students. 

The global project is made up of 40,000 canvasses drawn on by students. - Credit: @frequenciesfoundation

The decision to display the work at his former school was, Oscar adds, an "easy decision".

He said: "Hackney is one of the most diverse parts of the country. I grew up here and the project is about diversity and community."

At Oscar's request, the exhibition is staffed by sixth form students from Cardinal Pole. Students will gain experience as exhibition tour guides, community workshop facilitators and videographers. 

Oscar Murillo's exhibition Frequencies.

Oscar says his is a "symbolic return" as the school's building has changed since he was a student. The Catholic senior school was previously split up on two sites built in the 50s, in Kenworthy Road and Victoria Park Road. - Credit: Oscar Murillo - Frequencies

Sixth Form student, Katie Lowbridge, said: "I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new people over the summer and networking with a variety of people. Oscar gives us hope that we could succeed in the art industry."

Oscar joined Cardinal Pole Catholic School when he was 10 years old and his family moved to the UK from Colombia. 

'Frequencies' is open to the public until August 30. Entrance is free.

Learn more at www.artangel.org.uk/project/frequencies


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