Talk About Art associate artist Salina Jane started working with Tidemill Academy in February 2021. Sessions were delivered via zoom to a mixture of pupils in school and at home.
“The children involved in ‘Talk about the Environment’ have looked forward to each session led by ‘Miss Salina’. Their enthusiasm for each task has led to lively and imaginative Artwork and their discussion about artist’s has continued well after Salina has ended the Zoom call!
The children and myself are excited to see how the work will culminate in a final collaborative piece. We have all learnt so much about the work of Environmental artist’s and it has been wonderful to see how much the children care about these issues and are using Art to express their thoughts and opinions.”
Kate; Tidemill teacher and amazing project support!
Week 1: Looking at the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude we talked about the things we would like to wrap up – the Eiffel towers, Tidemill school, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Deptford high street!
We chose an everyday object that interested us to draw and then drew the ordinary object. Some of the class chose reflective objects, some with patterns, and some with interesting shapes.
We showed each other our drawings and them completed our page by drawing the objects the rest of the class had chosen.
We did a show and tell and discussed which of the objects we drew we’d like to wrap up and why. The most popular one was a decorative perfume bottle with a gold feather on it, which half the class wanted to wrap up.
Week 2: Senga Nendudi – They said they ‘loved this video the colours in her video art’ and about walking in someone else’s shoes they said ‘If it was (the shoes of) a celebrity, which she, is I would feel amazed’.
Some of the ideas that came out of the exercise – turning your object into a positive for the environment were fabulous. One child turned his rubbish picker into a type of vacuum to suck the rubbish out of the sea!
Week 3: Agnes Denes – the children said: “I liked that she cared about the environment, she looked into the environment to find patterns and shapes and made art from them”. “I liked the butterfly experiment because it was so really colourful. All the children wanted to climb tree mountain!”
“I liked cutting stuff up and making things from the stuff I cut up. I liked that I made paper sculpture and I learnt about an artist and I had fun. Tomorrow or maybe later I might make another sculpture. It was really good making paper sculptures.”
Week 4: Ben Von Wong – what the children said “He does cool stuff”, “He’s the coolest artist we’ve looked at so far”
“Its amazing he is telling us to recycle and use everything and not to just throw it away and we can even use it in our art”
“He tells us to Be Kind to the Earth”
We had a great discussion about plastic pollution and what that means and the impact it has.
There was much jumping up and down and squeals at Von Wong’s work and at the work the kids produced. About their own work they said
“I used sellotape so it looks like my clownfish fish is stuck in plastic”
“In my picture the fish are sad because they can’t go anywhere because of so much plastic”
“I drew bottles and plastic bags and used string to show the rubbish where the fish are living”
“The jellyfish are layered with plastic bags in my picture just like in the sea”
“There were some delighted children on screen and all very pleased to be part of the after school club next week.“ Kate, Tidemill Academy Teacher
Week 5: Ana Mendieta –
The video was great and the chat afterwards. Raven is a great narrator for the videos please give her Hi5s from me. I do a thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs in the middle, some of the kids loved her work and a few were not sure.
We talked about the concept of Universal energy. The kids comments on Ana Mendieta and her art;
“She’s cool, she left shapes in the earth like, her shapes and people went to visit it to see how it changed”
“She liked to be one with the earth”
“I like her work its very special and its different”
“She looks like earth and is connected to the earth”
I asked the children what they thought about making themselves into art. This is what they said
– I want to do it again (a chorus of voices)
– Your face is your paper
-I’m an orange – stay calm and be an organ
– I’m the sea
-I’m the cupboard in the corner of the classroom (No seriously one Child painted himself as the cupboard in the classroom)
– I’m grass, I’m leaves, I’m fire and I’m the ocean
My smile can be a cloud
I’m a piece of art just like Ana Mendieta did on the video using her own body
Week 6: – Andy Goldsworthy
Comments from the children on Andy Goldsworthy
– He talks about art being not just about people but about nature and nature and all and people are all the same
– He used ice and stone and rock and wood to make his art. He talks about nature and people can look at his art and see that we are like nature.
I liked the pine cone, because it was so big and I liked that he did’t use glue or paint and that every thing was natural
– he says we are all connected to nature
The Leaf exercise was superb and they enjoyed placing the work in different patterns and shapes.
The children said
“I liked that we created different shapes and I liked cutting them out.”
“I liked that we could place the shapes in different circles.”
Week 7: Working towards a final piece
Awesome session today. The children were amazing, so excited and so engaged. Kate was really great.
We started the session by talking about our subject for the last 6 weeks and the artists we had seen, the remembered Ana Mendieta’s connection to the universe through nature and that she said she was at one with nature and her tragic death. They remembered the colour and fun of Benjamin Von Wong’s work and his piece with mermaids and plastic. The remembered Christo and Jeanne Claude and that they wrapped lots of things up and the class remembered they had wanted to wrap up their school and Deptford High Street. They remembered Andy Goldsworthy had made sculptures outside from natural materials.
They felt that environmental art was important because we need to save Nature.
About art club so far on child said, ‘I love art club because its not about drawing perfectly its about creativity and ideas!’
The class teacher collected all the packaging and rubbish left over from the class lunch which amounted to a huge box full. We used this to create an art work showing the impact on nature from our pollution. We drew endangered animals and encased them in the rubbish and in plastic and drew messages across the plastic wrapping.
The children loved doing the art work in different stages. ‘They said its really good, but its also really terrible’. ‘We made a lot of trash but we are not wasting it we are using it’. ‘We are using our rubbish to be creative and to save nature’.
One child said, ‘it reminded me how we should save animals and stop littering on the floor!’
Another said I liked what we did and were were talking and connecting with nature, if nature dies we die. We are nature.’.
It really was great and got us all thinking about how much plastic and other waste we produced just from one lunch and the effect we might have on nature.