BTEC students from Priestley College were given access to the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery’s archives as a starting point for their paintings.
Their responses are now on display at the museum alongside the originals by artists such as Swoon, Candice Tripp, Blek Le Rat and Elbow Toe.
Priestley Tutor Wendy Moore said the students were inspired by many different aspects of the work to which they were introduced.
“It could be the colours, the technique, the subject matter or the story behind the artist that appealed to them,” she said.
“They were then asked to research the painting and the artist and create a new piece of work in response.”
All the students are in the second year of their BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fine Art and their talent is obvious from the exhibition.
Derek Dick, Exhibitions and Visitor Services Manager at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, said: “I’ve always described the Museum as a resource and a place for inspiration so it was great to be able to work with Priestley in this way.
“The students’ work looks amazing and it has been great to see it develop from their first visit to the museum in November, through my regular visits to the college and finally seeing the work up on the walls.”
She was inspired by Swoon’s ‘Argentina’ and was moved by the artist’s ability to show people considered as ‘lower down in society’ in a heroic light.
Alice’s image of a child highlights the turbulence of the Civil Rights movement and has references to the Black Panther Party.
“Innocence can be seen in the hearts on the shirt emphasising a sense of neutrality children possess while being surrounded by such upheaval,” she said.
“This is contrasted by powerful images of Black Panther posters in the background of banners, protests and dominant leaders – portraying a sense of upheaval that was created.”
The idea of a partnership between Priestley College and the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery was first proposed in July and the theme of the ‘Human Form’ was chosen.
About 20 paintings from the museum’s collection were selected ranging from contemporary art to traditional Victorian portraits.
Former Sir Thomas Boteler pupil Callum Ford used Candice Tripp’s ‘Ed and Viv’s Very Slow Adventure’ as inspiration and also tapped into his own dislike of clowns.
“I liked the idea of turning a clown into something that people wouldn’t want to see,” said Callum.
“The hair includes subtle text like ‘Look look, see the clown.’ I included this because I wanted to consolidate that contradicting message of children’s expectations of clowns, and the realisation that clowns are not always how they seem.”
Elbow Toe’s ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime’ inspired Rebecka Warburton’s response called ‘It Takes Two to Tango’.
Former Birchwood High pupil Rebecka enjoyed Elbow Toe’s use of symbolism and to further her understanding researched proverbs and their deeper meaning.
“I was interested in the theme of conflict and used yellow roses to symbolise jealousy and antlers on the male dancer to symbolise his infidelity,” she said.
‘Inspired by’ runs at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery until July 12 and the students’ work is for sale.