Monday, 30 November 2020

Mother shocked at attack on girl’s art

THE mother of a schoolgirl whose artwork was labelled “pathetic” by a councillor says she was

THE mother of a schoolgirl whose artwork was labelled “pathetic” by a councillor says she was shocked by the comment.

Lisa Rees read about Councillor Jane Diwell’s criticism of drawings done by pupils at Sonning Common Primary School four years ago in the Henley Standard two weeks ago.

Councillors were discussing the idea of a new village sign and were shown the children’s artworks which date back to when they were asked to come up with designs they felt represented the village by the now defunct Sonning Common Society.

Mrs Rees, who lives in Kidmore Lane, recognised the design by her daughter Emily, now 12 and a pupil at the Abbey School in Reading.

She said: “It was a really funny experience. The first thing I did when I saw it was call Emily and said this might be your picture. She came to look and then I read the headline and we were quite shocked.”

After Cllr Diwell made her comment, fellow councillors Douglas Kedge and Councillor Chrissie Phillips Tilbury asked her to withdraw her it but she refused.

Mrs Rees, a marketing and communications manager, said: “I think we should be bigging up children. All the councillor had to say was that it was not suitable or suggest it did not move forward. Her refusal to take her comment back was a bit harsh for a nine-year-old’s artwork.”

She wrote about the issue on social media and received support from more than 30 people about the quality of Emily’s work.

Mrs Rees, whose husband Oliver is an IT engineer, said: “Everybody has said they really liked the design and a lot of people, although I know they are my friends, think it does represent Sonning  Common.

“Art is very subjective and it’s quite normal not to like someone’s work but it’s not how to refer to children’s work when it’s going to be on public record.

“To use those words when talking about children’s artwork… it could have been more delicate.

“If you’ve got nothing positive to say then don’t say anything at all. If she had withdrawn her comments it would have almost been non-news.

“I don’t want to fan the flames but I felt strongly about her choice of words.”

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