Feb 6, 2015: Art

Second graders have been learning through their Adinkra artwork and our most recent project that artwork is created in unique ways by people all over the world. The students now recognize that visual symbols can have many meanings. Through the last few projects, we have been using pattern and symmetry to enhance our artwork. The Ndebele artists have been creating homes that are painted with geometric designs that have special meaning in their culture for hundreds of years. The students learned about an artist named Esther Mahlangu who helped to popularize the art of the Nbebele Tribe of South Africa. The students found it interesting that this artistic talent is passed down through generations of women, who as girls practice the art of painting in perfect symmetry without even using a ruler. Esther Mahlangu says, "The ruler is in the mind, the ruler is inside the head".

     Many students worked with a partner to create their own symmetrical pattern, each student took turns and worked together to make their design choices. They worked with their partner to carefully paint the patterns, which was a great exercise in many useful social/communication skills. Lastly, they added layers of oil pastel to add texture and interest to their colors. They enjoyed learning the difference between soft and hard edge technique with oil pastel and had a great time using our new tiny detail paint brushes for the small areas of their designs.
     This week, 2nd grade is on to a new Unit of Inquiry, Art and Storytelling. We are taking inspiration from the Faith Ringgold. She began her artistic career more than 35 years ago as a painter. Today, she is best known for her painted story quilts - art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling. The students have chosen a place to pretend to travel to by flying themselves there. We are currently brainstorming ideas on how to draw the main elements of the story. Their quilt will be able to take the viewer on a imaginative journey much like we experienced in the book "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold.

    Our Adinkra Cloth inspired artwork is on display in Stearns Hall.  Please come see them if you haven't had the chance yet. As always, please feel free to send me an email or stop by the art room if you have any questions, or if you just want to see what we are doing! Please talk to your student about what they are learning. This will help to show your child that you are interested in what they do and they will appreciate your thoughtful questions.

Thanks for reading!

- Sarah Harpole