International Artist Workshop at St. Mary's

Our young artists benefit from an amazing opportunity as Nils Burwitz visits our Art and Design department s part of Leeds City Council’s “Celebrate Mandela Week.”

International Artist Workshop at St. Mary's photo gallery (19 photos)


Internationally acclaimed artist Nils Burwitz recently visited St. Mary’s Menston. St. Mary’s has close ties with South Africa through the school’s Bambisanani Partnership which links St. Mary’s and Mnyakanya High School in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nils Burwitz spent the morning in the Art Department working with students of different ages. He described his time in South Africa under the Apartheid regime and how he had used his art as a protest to show the absurdity and evil of the system that segregated and discriminated against people of different coloured skin.  Nils referred to his work as ‘Resistance Art’ and gave a fascinating and inspirational account of his time in South Africa.  He spoke about his famous art work for Nelson Mandala and his time spent with him. 

Nils then worked alongside the students who produced their own work on the theme of “Words Are My Weapon”.  Pupils shared their own drawings and discussed their ideas with him.

Nils praised the work of students and the school’s commitment to an equitable partnership with a South African school.  He was particularly taken by some art work produced by Year 10 student Nathan Teague entitled “Until everyone is equal, no-one is free.”  Beyond the workshop, Nils spent time with Sixth Form artist Jade Rigby-Williams who had produced an entire portfolio of work based on her experience of volunteering in South Africa.


“The workshop was inspirational and the pupils were very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a world class artist.”
— Assistant Headteacher, Mr David Geldart

“Nils is an amazing man. As a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, he used his art to make a difference in the world. It was a privilege to have him at St. Mary’s and we sincerely hope that he returns one day.”
— Miss Donna Quirke, Art and Design Subject Leader at St. Mary's Menston

"This is not a drawing - it's more, it's the starting point to a special adventure, your road-map for a bright future" Message to the Bambisanani Partnership from Nils Burwitz, 25 April 2014

"This is not a drawing - it's more, it's the starting point to a special adventure, your road-map for a bright future" Message to the Bambisanani Partnership from Nils Burwitz, 25 April 2014