Kaleidoscope Digital Art Project: The Colours of my Week

Kaleidoscope Collage | Wycombe Abbey

During this historic period of self-isolation, where our School community is dispersed across the world, the Wycombe Abbey Artist in Residence wished to create a School community artwork in response to the situation that pupils and staff found themselves in. Mrs Claudia Phipps built her artwork upon the themes of ‘hope’, ‘distance’ and ‘experience’. Mrs Phipps writes:

As individuals, we will have very different experiences during this time, both positive and negative, but all of which will become formative events of our lives; shaping our thoughts, goals and attitude to our environment and relationships.

Bringing our Community Together Through Art

To bring our community together this Summer Term, and to share experiences, I initiated a digital artwork created from imagery gathered by individuals. I collated these into a format based on ever-changing images which are animated to create infinite combinations, which overlap and evolve like a kaleidoscope.

I used symbolism based on the colours of the rainbow and the number seven, to infer a message of hope, drawing on imagery from individuals’ experiences. There are also seven days in the week, seven ages of man. The number seven is also associated with luck in many cultures.

I engaged with the whole school community by asking pupils and staff to upload photographs which focus on individual colours of the rainbow. These were curated into a constantly changing artwork. I wanted the project to be web-based, and accessible by the whole School community.

I was impressed by the girls’ contributions to this project, they came up with lots of original ideas. Importantly, it provided the girls with an opportunity to get away from their computer screens for a while.

Encouraging Reflection and Meditation

Taking good photos is not as easy as it seems. Focusing on objects of certain colours encouraged the girls to consider common-place objects in a new light. In lockdown, our worlds have shrunk to the confines of our homes. Looking at them in a new light and appreciating small things can bring joy. Time in lockdown has played tricks on us; sometimes seeming to stretch indefinitely, whilst we appear to exist in a small bubble, away from friends and wider family. Taking time to reflect is important, and Art can help us to do this by providing a focus away from the intimacy of our immediate surroundings.

I wished, through Kaleidoscope, to create something that encouraged reflection and meditation, helping to create calm in the chaos and focus on the positive aspects of life in lockdown. The image of the rainbow has been used universally as a symbol of hope. Trying to find a new way of using this symbol presented a way of connecting with people using language that is understood across cultures.

This piece is about bringing the community together through individual contributions to create a collective artwork.


Mrs Claudia Phipps
Artist in Residence