24 August 2020
A portrait of outgoing Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) Headmistress, Miss Jo MacKenzie, was unveiled at the school last week.
Miss MacKenzie has spent ten years building an outstanding school that encapsulates her vision of education; a community focused on developing young women who have the intellect, skills and motivation to make a real difference to the world around them.
The oil painting was created by talented artist and BGS alumna, Mihaila Kuveljic, who recently graduated with a Fine Art degree from Oxford Brookes University.
Inspired by photography, Mihaila’s use of rich colours and meticulous attention to detail helps explore themes such as beauty in creating a more enticing aesthetic.
Mihaila who left BGS in 2016 reflected: “When considering the composition of the painting, I firstly needed to see what ideas and concepts Miss MacKenzie wished to be portrayed within the piece. Her love of people, the school and gardening were all aspects which stood out to me the most.
“When considering the background of the painting, I decided to create a wash of greens with a slight blue tint to reflect on Miss MacKenzie’s love of scents within a garden. The green contrasted nicely against the baby pink of her jacket, as well as reflecting the school colours.
“When I first walked into Miss MacKenzie’s office, I noticed the delicate arrangement of baby’s breathe on her desk. I decided that these were the perfect flowers to add to the composition, as it reflected her love of understated beauty within a garden.”
Miss MacKenzie said: “Lots of staff have seen the portrait and have said that Mihaila has captured my spirit in the eyes, and that I think is the hardest thing to do. The fact that Mihaila has done it so well is a credit to her incredible talent. It is so important to me that an alumna painted this portrait. The creative arts is such an important part of this school, and it’s really important for me that students see what happens as you pursue them as a career. I thank Mihaila from the bottom of my heart and am so proud she is an Old Girl of this school.”
The piece of art will join the collection of portraits of other former Headmistresses from the heritage schools in the Senior School corridor.