Friday, April 22, 2011

student exhibitions and goodbyes

the last few days were incredibly rushed and frantic.  nevertheless, it certainly paid off and i was so proud of my students.  the photography class had a rough start.  i had brought six plastic cameras with me and a bunch of black+white and color film.  the students didn't start shooting with  the cameras until almost a month into the class since a thorough introduction was needed. we looked at a variety of photographs, learned how to tell stories with images and focused on their writing in preparation for shooting. i started them off with the black+white.. only after i waited (and lost) a week did the lab inform me that they only develop color.  this really set the project back and we lost precious time when they could have been shooting more film.  setbacks aside, the class produced some amazing photographs and each photograph was accompanied by short essays or poems.

my 5th grade photographers not only exhibited their work, but were interviewed by me individually.  i asked them a few questions, all pertaining to their experience throughout the project.  what was their favorite part? why? what did they learn? and why is it important to them? what did the project make them question?
the photos were exhibited in basic wooden frames without glass (made by the school carpenter) in the entrance hall of the school, and hung along some rope.  the students chose up to four photographs to exhibit.  the writings were displayed on the back of the frames, allowing the viewer to interact with each piece and move around them.

i worked the most with the 5th grade. as part of my art class with them, we completed a mural in the entrance of the school, which was also part of the exhibit.  the mural was a collaboration between the art teacher, myself, the 3rd and 5th graders.  the mural's theme was an underwater imaginary world.  we had the 3rd grade come up with drawings that the 5th graders then transferred to the walls.  of course, with our help, they also made several additions on their own and it turned out great!

the other exhibit also being showcased at the same time but on a back wall of the school, was the 7th grade waste project.  this project was inspired by brazilian artist vik muniz's documentary wasteland.  this project also took several months of preparation. we called on all of the students and teachers in the school to bring waste from home (mainly plastics, metals, aluminum).  we received so much, we didn't even have to go to the landfills.  for weeks we had students create mini waste projects at home and work on creating various different designs during class.  once we had the massive 4x6 meter frame prepared (also by the carpenter)and laid out on the floor, the students drew their final design on the canvas with chalk.  they filled in the design with the waste, organizing by color.  you could see it well from above and because of its size, we had to keep going upstairs to overlook the process, making adjustments and whatnot.  finally after days, we started gluing.  at the last minute on the day of the exhibition, 4 men had to lift this thing and hang it.. this was the most crucial and unnerving part.  fortunately, nothing collapsed and it was a success.  the work really came to life on the blue wall (that we had painted) and all of the hard work paid off!

the exhibit, due to lack of time, was also my last day at the school.  we had a wonderful party.  the 5th graders made cucumber/tomato sandwiches and lemonade for their parents and teachers, and the 7th grade brought soda and junk food.  they were really excited about their art show, as was i.  i couldn't believe we were able to somehow make the impossible possible in that last week!  i left the cameras at the school, so hopefully they'll keep taking photos.  this project was such a great experience for me and i learned a lot from them.  i will miss all of them so much. 

photo exhibit

                                                                waste project

                                                  class 5 group picture in front of mural

                                               one last photo with a few more from class 5