'Head Girl Head Boy' Exhibition

Mr Monkman's new art exhibition opens this week at The Lightbox in Woking 

Mr Peter Monkman is an award winning artist and Director of Art here at Charterhouse. Throughout his career in several comprehensive schools and latterly in the private sector, Monkman has painted representations of childhood and adolescence. Since winning the prestigious BP Portrait Award in 2009, Monkman has painted Charterhouse School’s Head Girl and Boy each year, and from 12-24 November 2019, the public will be able to view an exhibition of these paintings at the Light Box in Woking.

Mr Monkman has described how his aim in depicting the Head Girl and Head Boy together is to “challenge issues of gender and hierarchy; to question how young people may be represented and categorised within institutions”. As Mr Monkman has never been commissioned to create these portraits, he’s had the creative freedom to bring his own interpretations to his work. In his own words, Mr Monkman strives to “transcend any generalised ideas of appearance and status, seeking to reveal the individual beneath the uniform”. 

Mr Monkman has also recently published a book which includes several selected portraits from the exhibition and goes by the same name. The book is introduced by independent curator and broadcaster Kathleen Soriano, who describes how Mr Monkman’s paintings “hold a sense of promise, capturing someone on the brink of their adult lives”. Soriano explains how Mr Monkman’s use of blurred and double images help to “emphasise the fundamentally transitional moment in the sitters’ lives”.

In these changing times, there are some important themes surrounding youth, hierarchy and gender to be gleamed from both the exhibition and accompanying publication.

To find out more about the exhibition or to book tickets visit: https://www.thelightbox.org.uk/head-girl-head-boy-portraits-by-peter-monkman

Monkman’s book ‘Head Girl Head Boy’ can be purchased for £8.95 from the Foundation Office at Charterhouse: foundation@charterhouse.org.uk