Subject: Visual Arts

Subject Description:

Visual Arts is about self-expression and helps students engage meaningfully with and respond to their world in a non-verbal way. Visual literacy and the study of past historical movements and artists up until the present inform and shape students’ understanding of visual culture. Students explore art from around the world through project-based activities.

Based on directed investigation, students reinterpret selected forms to promote understanding of themes, purposes, symbolism, and traditional formal characteristics. Students compare various cultural responses in art to universal themes, gaining respect for diverse perspectives and the rich heritage shared by cultures worldwide.

Value of Visual Arts as subject:

At the centre of all learning lies the student’s own experience. Arts education offers students a unique way of exploring the world around them, expressing their own perceptions, and discovering their own creative imagination.

Some of the outcomes that we hope to achieve with all our students:

  • Encourage learners to think critically about the world of images around them. This skill benefits not only artists, but designers, heritage workers, architects, photographers, teachers, town planners etc. We all rely on an ability to interpret images in a critical way.
  • Emphasize the value of keeping artist’s notebooks. These are a personal resource where ideas, sketches, images etc can be stored for later use.
  • Explore visual phenomena and technical possibilities through practical projects, research, interviewing and discussion.
  • The list of careers supported by the Visual Arts is vast, such as architecture, film, fashion, curating, historical research, interior design, photography, event design and more.
  • Understanding art is valued in other professional fields as well, such as Medicine and Engineering.
  • Artists think creatively, have developed a set of problem-solving skills, and have a compassionate, empathetic approach to life.

Skills/Content Carried over from Grade 10-12:

Assignments for practicals go through two main phases: The workbook phase and the final execution of the exhibition piece. Within the workbook phase we concentrate on working through three main stages: the perceptual stage, the conceptual stage, and the synthesis stage. In each stage, drawings, sketches, brainstorming, mind maps, and mixed media pieces are built up into a working body of material from which the final exhibition piece is ultimately born. Throughout Grade 10-12, students will also be studying art theory and have written tests and examinations. This component has two main focuses: art history and visual literacy. Here students will learn about various historical art movements and artists, as well as learn how to critically analyse artworks from formal and conceptual standpoints.

Grade 10 Curriculum:

Field of study



Basic drawing and painting techniques – encouraged to experiment with unknown techniques and media

Compiling a Visual Diary and coming up with their own unique ideas and concepts for artworks

Different practical theme each term and create a Visual Diary, a drawing, and a final artwork

Critical skills regarding time planning through specific tasks completed each week


Art Elements and Design Principles

Styles and Techniques

Artwork Analysis

Prehistoric Art

Egyptian Art and Architecture

Greek Art and Architecture

Roman Art and Architecture

Medieval Art


Renaissance Art


Mannerism in Italy and Spain


Baroque Art


Rococo Art

Theory tests and exams: 

Theory tests and exams throughout the term and at the end of Term 2 and 3

Grade 11 Curriculum:

Field of study



Beginning the process of preparing for Grade 12 by having more responsibility and individual freedom in art practice

Main focus on two larger and more intense practical tasks for the year

For each practical task/theme creating a Visual Diary, a drawing, and a final artwork, as well as research components on artists and styles that influence their work

Critical skills regarding time planning through specific tasks completed each week








German Expressionism



Early 20th Century


South African Art

Theory tests and exams: 

Theory tests and exams throughout the term and at the end of Term 2 and 3

Grade 12 Curriculum:

Field of study



At the beginning of the year, students will receive a Practical Assessment Task from the IEB which makes up their practical assessment for the entire year

Students are expected to create a Visual Diary showing their creative process, contextual research on artists that inform and inspire their work, and a final artwork or series of artworks

At the end of the year, students have a drawing exam that runs over four days, for a total of 24 hours

Students are also expected to write a Conclusive Research Essay that discusses their process and research of their work.




Abstract Expressionism

Pop Art

Op Art



Conceptual and International Art


Resistance Art


Contemporary South African Art

Theory tests and exams: 

Over the course of their Grade 12 year, students will be expected to complete a series of Portfolio Tasks in the form of tests as well as a Preliminary Exam and Final Exam Paper

Grade 9 Requirements:

Students who want to take Visual Arts in Grade 10 must have a clear understanding of what the subject entails and the number of hours they will need to devote to the subject every day. Visual Arts at FET level is extremely difficult and takes up a lot of time, including long practical exams ranging from 6-24 hours. Students need to make an active and clear choice that if they choose to take this subject, they will need to work at least two hours a day on their various art practices.

To achieve their potential in FET Visual Arts, students must make sure of the following:

  • Aim to achieve at least 70% for Visual Arts at the end of Grade 9 as this is a specialist subject and FET Visual Arts is very different and much more complicated that Visual Arts in Grade 9
  • Be ready to tackle large amounts of content and workload each term - both practical and theoretical (keep in mind that what you did in a month in Grade 9, you will be expected to do within a week in Grade 10)
  • Have a firm grasp on Art Elements and Design Principles
  • Ability to read and keep up with various art movements and concepts
  • Be able to logically and coherently communicate thoughts and arguments through writing
  • Have good time-management and discipline skills to keep on track with all tasks
  • Be willing to attend extra lessons weekly to keep up to date with the workload if necessary.

Stationary Requirements:

  • Grade 10

  • Grade 11

  • Grade 12

Stationery required

  • Grade 10 Visual Arts Textbook - R415
  • A3 Visual Diary
  • A3 Flipfile
  • A4 Hardcover exercise book
  • Various Art Materials*

*Each term students will be expected to buy their own art materials and supplies according to the theme or project at hand. What they need for each project will be communicated to them in advance for each project.

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