Saturday, December 8, 2018

Painting with Scissors

So through the Marimba Mural (see previous post) I got to know the awesome kids who attend the Community Art Academy. They were a great help painting the mural and very eager to learn. Not at all tired after two days of painting (them, not me!) I offered them an artwork shop, if they were willing to come in their free time because the art course actually ended for the year just last week.

Of course they were interested! I promised them a Frida Kahlo workshop, but did one on Henri Matisse instead, who happened to be the subject of this weeks art history course that I’m teaching. One of my favourite artists and a great one to share with kids.

What the kids didn’t expect was that we’d start painting straight away. Even before the teacher arrived, be had already set up the paint stations in the corridor and the kids were hard at work filling one sheet after the other. At first they were a bit shy and conventional, but soon they opened up and started exploring with different colours and techniques. It’s a good thing we ran out of paper, otherwise they’d still be painting.

Next a lecture on Henri Matisse and a selection of pictures of his work. His paintings are fascinating enough, but truly marvellous are the cut-outs that he started making well into his 70s while recovering from bowel cancer.  

That’s when the kids started to have an inkling about what we were going to do…. But not yet about the subject matter. I asked them to think of the volcano eruption, how it had affected their lives and community, and how they could translate those feelings and experiences into images. Not an easy feat. But they liked the fact that the images could be (half) abstract and only meaningful to themselves.

So off to work again! This time we “painted with scissors”, as Matisse himself used to say. A volcano, of course, as well as a surprising number of butterflies… So, why not, instead of an eruption of lava and smoke, create an outburst of butterflies??? As a positive image rather than a scary one and also representing all the people who passed away. Everybody liked the idea so butterflies it was. And that’s how the idea for the next mural was born….

And just when I thought we were done it turned out we weren’t. Classes were over, but the kids hadn’t had a formal closing ceremony yet, so that was going to happen next. And if I could do the honours by presenting the diplomas? Well, if that is all, why not? I wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion, but well…
Little did I know that we had to wait for the mayor and two other VIPS as well as lemonade and snacks. It was fun and I had to run to catch the last bus back home.

Oh and yes, of course Ill back next week for a workshop on Frida Kahlo…