Artist Name(s) Blaise Smith
Artwork title Schoolwork

Schoolwork is the result of a per cent for art commission in which Blaise Smith ARHA spent a year painting in Presentation College Carlow. 20 oil paintings were made from life and feature numerous portraits of the students and staff and are a record of every day life in an Irish secondary school in the 21st century. 


A series of paintings detailing the everyday life at Presentation College.

Schoolwork is the result of a per cent for art commission for Presentation College, Carlow. Blaise Smith (ARHA) worked as artist in residence in the school, from Sept 2011 to June 2012 where he made a series of 20 oil paintings from life.

The school is the subject of the paintings and the series overall is a sort of portrait of the school, its staff and pupils, and by extension the education system of today. Smith paints exclusively from life, setting his easel up in class, painting the students and teachers and the fabric of the school itself. He is a realist painter, whose paintings are as he puts it: “What I see is what you get”. Apparently meticulous in their detail, on closer inspection the paintings are actually quite loose with the immediacy of any painting from life. Blaise Smith painted daily in the classrooms from September 2011 to the first day of the Leaving Certificate in May 2012. Portraying events from the mundane minutiae to the fully present and engaged class participant, Smith's work describes the visual language and the mechanics of the school thus enabling the viewer to observe and reflect upon the community of the school.

Smith’s style has won him many followers and he has exhibited widely throughout Ireland, and annually in the Royal Hibernian Academy where he was recently elected an Associate Member. 

A full colour publication was produced to document this commission and is available to purchase from VISUAL.   


An exhibition of the body of work produced through the commission/residency took place at the Crawford Gallery Cork from 17 January to 10 February 2013. It was launched at VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in October 2012.




Commission Type Government Department,Schools/Colleges
Commissioner Name Presentation College, Carlow
Commissioning process Open Competition
Project commission dates August 31, 2011 - June 29, 2012
Public Presentation dates September 30, 2012 - February 10, 2013
Partners Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Dept. Education and Science
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 31/08/2011
Project commission end date 29/06/2012

Presentation College, Askea, Carlow
County Carlow
Content contributor(s) Sharon Murphy
Relationship to project Project Manager/Curator



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