The IB Visual Arts course consists of three components: the Comparative Study, the Process Portfolio, and the Exhibition. I will briefly introduce all 3 components in this overview:
1. Comparative Study (20%) — Externally assessed
This is a 13-20 slide presentation in which you analyse a total of 3-4 artworks made by 2-3 different artists. You will examine, compare, and contrast the artwork’s formal qualities (line, colour, etc), their purposes, and their cultural significance. Moreover, it is also necessary to show how their own art has been influenced by the study of these works. This may seem burdensome, so I would recommend viewing examples on the IBO website and this teacher’s website.
2. Process Portfolio (40%) — Externally assessed
This is a 13-25 slide PDF that documents your artistic process and growth. I liked to view it as a glorified and more structured sketchbook! More importantly, you will show and discuss your experiments with different media, techniques, etc. Additionally, you must also demonstrate artists and artwork influence your experiments, communicate how your ideas were formed and how they developed, and reflect on every step of your process. In my opinion, this part of the VA HL curriculum helps your inner artist grow the most!
3. Exhibition (40%) — Internally assessed, externally moderated
The highlight for most IB Art students! The exhibition is a showcase of 7-10 of your artwork. The chosen must be connected in some way, e.g. through a theme, a style, a material, a concept, etc. Additionally, students will explain the selection and arrangement of all pieces in a document called the Curatorial Rationale. Meanwhile, keep in mind that you are assessed on how connected your selected works are with one another, how technically strong your works are, how complex your conceptual ideas are (i.e. how far you developed your “theme”), how you communicated those ideas, and how well you curated your exhibition (based on your Curatorial Rationale). Since this might be confusing, the best way to understand the expectations of the Exhibition is by looking at examples!
Read my experience with Visual Arts HL, where I also help students decide whether or not the subject is a good fit for them!