Our first cohort of students from ART YARD partnership school MS226 in South Ozone Park, Queens accompanied by Ms. Priester returned to Kentler International Drawing Space to continue working from robin holder’s exhibition Access & Inequities: I Hear You. Do You See Me?
In her exhibition essay Dr. Halima Taha (writer, arts & cultural strategist, and author of Collecting African American Art: Works on Paper and Canvas) eloquently describes robin’s work in this exhibition: “holder’s picture narratives are infused with the substance and integrity that her subjects command. Using her ideas and materials as a catalyst for dialogue is her greatest strength because her work inspires people to change their communities from the influences of the worst societal injustices. ... Herein lies a prime example of how artistic activism functions as an expression of affect. The power of the imagery motivates people to overcome seemingly impermeable socio-political and moral barriers so they can successfully remap society’s pernicious patterns with a healthy blueprint.”
We began the lesson with a review of what we learned last week. Students had an excellent recall and enthusiastically described the artwork they began. Most continued work on their pieces from last session.
After their first piece was completed, students carefully studied robin’s mixed-media pop-up collages and set out to create one of their own. Thanks to the helpful guidance and encouragement of Advanced Studio Artist Evelyn Beliveau, who volunteered with class -- working specifically with those focusing on the mixed-media collage, all of the students successfully completed the project!
Ms. Priester reported that as they gathered for the bus in the morning students were brimming with enthusiasm to return to the gallery. All arriving to school early and in one case armed with a box of tissues and an orange juice to insure a case of the sniffles would not keep her from a day of ART YARD!
To coincide with our lessons inspired by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, librarian Nadene Bracken (at our Jersey City partnership school PS 6) selected several books based on Japanese culture. They were truly welcomed and helped greatly with our lessons. Additionally, ART YARD BKLYN donated the book "Yayoi Kusama: From Here To Infinity", from the MoMA Design Store, to the school's library for students' future reference and enjoyment.
5th graders finished their meaningful shape drawings and paintings and several, who'd completed their pieces earlier than expected, did portraits of Kusama with watercolor. 4th graders followed the same pattern but drew portraits on black paper with white pencil and/or gel pens and, of course, pink or red colored pencils for Kusama's trademark hair and lips. The results ranged from realistic to cartoonish to uncanny.
Dennis gave a tour of the gallery for the 4th graders and had them imagine the space totally empty - they then offered ideas for curating their works (and those of other classes) for the upcoming exhibition (Spring 2020).
Back in our art room, 1st graders continued to draw and cut organic shapes on reflective paper which were hung around the room for critique.
Classes were conducted by Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji, Intern Leslie Ramirez and Dennis.
A happy 4th grader stated: "Making art is hard work but a lot of fun!". During critique, a 5th grader complimented a classmate's piece by saying: "Her work gives me a true Yayoi Kusama feeling".
I look forward to getting back to Advanced Studio on Monday!