Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Choosing sessions for art clubs which are self contained in an hour (no storage space!) and are accessible to all abilities and a mixture of ages is not an easy task. I am always determined that after school art club is not just a glorified baby sitting session. I want the children to learn a little bit about art and artists and take home artwork they are proud of. Some people thought introducing Surrealism to children as young as the reception class was over ambitious. I do love a challenge. In the first session I introduced the idea surrealism and Dali without showing them images. The children then used magazine photos to create 'funny people'. I insisted that the more different and mis-matched the heads, torsos and limbs were the better. I was amazed at how rigid even the youngest children can be with their ideas, they are so keen to follow rules once in school that breaking them is incredibly hard, and a bit confusing. This session was designed to release them from those constraints and I think it worked: The following week the children made a dreamscape or an imaginary strange landscape using the same technique as for the strange people. I reminded them about Dali, and showed them some examples of surreal art and a collage I had made. Some of the final pieces are incredible! PS - When I asked a KS1 (reception to year 2) club if anyone had heard of Dali a little scrap of a thing pushed her hand into the air as high as she could with that 'if you don't pick me I'll burst' look, her long and detailed answer (which was correct in it's own way) began like this: "It's a time when people have parties and are happy and light candles..." Clearly the children had been talking about art club during the week. In the second session when I mentioned Dali the whole class chorused: "Dali, not Diwali - Dali!" The loudest, and with the biggest grin, was the little one who had made the mistake.