Prime Minister Theresa May gave China's President Xi artworks of Beijing and London by British artist and Exeter School alumnus Rob Pepper (1990 - 1995) who is Principal of The Art Academy in London.
The gifts were given when she met the President on her recent visit to Beijing. The artworks showing cityscapes of both cities were given to celebrate a "Golden Era" between the two countries.
Rob Pepper has been travelling between the UK and China over the past five years depicting Chinese cities in his drawings. His elegant artworks capture the architectural heritage of both cities. The two 70cm wide works were mounted together with a plaque commemorating the visit alongside a hand written note from the artist.
Rob said it was a huge honour for his artwork to be used as a symbol of friendship and connection between our two great nations.
"As an artist I've long admired the clarity of Chinese mark making and in my own work I look to interweave a similar finesse with a contemporary western sensibility," he said.
Rob visited Exeter School's Art Department in March 2017 to share his experiences of working in the art world since leaving school. He ran an interactive session with all Middle Fifth (Year 10) pupils studying Art. His stylistic approach informed the pupils' practical activity and they worked in small groups to design compositions based on Devon landmarks under Rob's guidance.
He also gave a careers talk to aspiring artists, designers and architects in the Upper Fifth and Sixth Form. Rob talked about the launch of the upcoming BA in Fine Art at the Art Academy and encouraged the pupils to take risks with materials and approaches and emphasised the importance of networking in order to succeed in the contemporary art world.
Alumnus Rob explained how his education at Exeter School had sparked his ambition and given him the drive he needed to make his way in such a competitive and ever-changing field. He emphasised the importance of embracing social media and taking a real interest in people and what they wanted from art.