Updated: May 5
Teaching Artist Richard Estrin was back for another challenging and thought provoking ART YARD Advanced Studio session titled Private Displacement.
Richard explained the inspiration and the concept of the project: “This period of COVID has rendered our city nearly unrecognizable. The events of the last 13 months have presented us with what, until now, would have been unrecognizable. Empty streets. Times Square desolate but illuminated. Field hospitals in Central Park. The USN Comfort.
It has required behavioral changes not considered before. Mask wearing, social distancing, line waiting—all to the score of the relentless sirens seared into our consciousness last year.
It is not a far leap to say that our world and our place within it has shifted: it has shrunk, become less social, more isolated and we have become much more vulnerable. Communities have been stressed and some have fallen away. We have spent more time alone, inside, learning to become more self-sustaining.
In many ways, it is as if we find ourselves displaced from our familiar lives. We are Immigrants or refugees in our own homes. As a result, we end up looking inward. Searching within ourselves to find resilience and ways to reinvent our communities, our support systems, our ways of engagement—in fact, ourselves.
For this project we will consider the work of four different artists who, for different reasons, are on the margins. They explore their positions in different ways which may offer us clues as to how to explore and unpack our present, unfamiliar lives.”
Richard shared the work of Marc Chagall, Riva Leherer, Julie Mehretu, and Yashua Klos who have explored the themes of isolation, marginalization, dislocation and diaspora.
We were all challenged by Richard’s ideas and several participants asked to have a copy of Richards introduction and PowerPoint to continue thinking about the presentation.
Jacob explains: “My piece is about how Minnesota has transformed into a police state during the past year. In the past year, we've been under military lockdown three times. My drawing includes an image of fences and barbed wire which have become commonplace in the city. There are tanks, national guard, and cops in riot gear in a swarm of tear gas. There are small businesses boarded up so that they don't get looted. In the bottom left corner, a small strip of public land is blocked off and contains poles on it to prevent homeless people from setting up tents on that spot. Someone protested this closing off of public lands by spray painting "Native Lives Matter," on the barricade. My drawing also contains an angry tweet directed at the mayor. All of these scenes are contrasted with an image of a dog sitting in a rocking chair by an idyllic Midwestern lake scene.”
Likewise Nayarit addresses issues of deep importance including Black Lives Matter, Social Distancing and the violent and catastrophic maelstrom experienced during the pandemic.
Eden depicts a desolate NYC, but as Ed pointed out, her light colored pigeon seems a stand in for a dove and thus a symbol of hope.
Wayne tackled living in isolation in Queens as well as a hopeful looking towards the future employing what I mistook as gold leaf and turned out to be a chocolate wrapper.
Marilyn celebrates the oasis of her garden and pines for a time of travel.
August tells us: “My inspiration for the drawings was the talk about spirit animals mixed with satire and the sensation of seeing people a year later.”
Zeke and I both used our phones to reference displacement:
Ed’s visually striking image of working under social distance measures reminded some of us of the game Twister.
Sigrid depicts the new normal of social distance friendships taking place in the park.
Ardelia’s striking montage drawing is layered in multiple narratives clearly addressing our topic of Private Displacement.
It was another fantastic week for ART YARD Art Matters at PS 282. It is remarkable to watch our very young artists so deeply focused and successful in their artmaking. They are recalling techniques from week-to-week and employing their skills to new lessons.
Teaching Artist Jane Huntington was back for the second part of our stencil series inspired by the work of Maraya Lopez. Jane’s power point included superb examples of artwork made with stencils work including a glittery rainbow unicorn, a mysterious forest with beautiful layered colors and examples created in Jane’s ART YARD Advanced Studio Session earlier in the week.
Jane prepared this excellent how-to presentation:
Students worked hard, some making more than one piece, others creating saturated colorful paintings that cover the entire paper. We were excited to see how overlapping stencils created new colors in the overlapped area.