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Artist Models

Learning Contexts

Visual Arts: drawing, printmaking, painting, ceramics, moving image

Artist

Sheyne Tuffery Katharine Ngatai Pai Zarahn Southon Lorraine Higgins

School

Howick College

Duration of Project

10 weeks

Students Involved

100 students, year 13 and 40 other students, years 9 - 12

Work from the turangawaewae mural workshop with Katharine Ngatai Pai - KatyPie Work from the turangawaewae mural workshop with Katharine Ngatai Pai - KatyPie

Background

This project involved four artists most whom had previously worked with the students at this school. Each artist completed workshops with selected groups of students over a number of days.

Howick College invited four artists to participate in their Artists in Schools project and three of these artists had worked with the students before. The Artists in Schools project offered the majority of the students involved (Year 13) the opportunity to build upon and extend their prior knowledge and understanding of the conventions of the artists. Sheyne Tuffery (print-maker), Katharine Ngatai Pai 'KatyPie' (painter), Zarahn Southon (painter) were returning artists, in addition students were also privileged to work with Lorraine Higgins (painter).

Zarahn Southon ran two three-day workshops teaching drawing skills towards portraiture in a contemporary style called classical realism with year 13 as well as gifted and talented students.

Sheyne Tuffery offered two three-day workshops on printmaking around the issue of sustainable environmental issues with year 13 and year 12 students.

KatyPie ran two four-day workshops with selected Māori students (years 9 - 13). They produced a multi-layered collaborative mural work based on their turangawaewae. Katy also worked with a group of students to produce work for 'Matariki' a wearable art exhibition held at the Uxbridge Gallery in Auckland.

Lorraine Higgins worked with a selection of students from years 10 - 13 on both a collaborative tile project and a collaborative painting.

New materials, identity and the environment were the predominant themes. Understanding the relationship between the students' own work and current artistic practices were the intended outcomes.

From left: Sheyne Tuffery working on one of his woodcuts; year 13 students drawing with Zarahn Southon; Tory's Matariki wearable art work (Uxbridge Gallery)

Process

This project did not follow a sequence over the ten weeks but rather was a series of workshops held when artists were available and class programmes permitted. Programmes were generally adapted to incorporate the artists' workshops. There was some preparation of materials, changes to timetabling, and follow-up for the supporting teachers of the classes concerned.

Work from the project was used where appropriate for NCEA standards but overall the workshops did not need to be strongly linked to individual class programmes. Prior to the workshops planning and discussion took place between the Head of the Art Department and the artists to ensure that the learning was informative, appropriate and topical.

In term two Sheyne Tuffery offered two three-day workshops on printmaking around the issue of sustainable environmental issues with year 12 and year 13 students.

Also in term two Katharine Ngatai Pai (KatyPie) ran two four-day workshops with selected Māori students (years 9 - 13) and with another group of senior students to produce work for 'Matariki' -wearable art for a south Auckland Exhibition held at the Uxbridge Gallery.

In term three Zarahn Southon ran two three-day workshops teaching drawing skills towards traditional portraiture with year 13 as well as gifted and talented students.

Lorraine Higgins worked with a selection of students from years 10 - 13 on a collaborative tile project and a collaborative painting over a period of several weeks in terms three and four.

Student learning

All the artists we studied are really big on the environment and Greenpeace, so we were not only influenced by their artwork but also their ideals.

(Alice Eager, student)

Students were motivated by the artists to tackle fresh concerns, processes, images and conventions through work generated in workshops. Working with these artists broadened students' understanding of the relationship between topical issues and the production of artworks. It allowed them to envisage the possibilities of incorporating more of their beliefs and ideals into the ideas behind their work.

An in-depth understanding of the art process from initial concept through to the production of resolved works was able to be developed. This was due to the uninterrupted block of time for each workshop with the artists (usually 1 - 2 consecutive days). This allowed students to experience the process in its entirety with continual feedback from the artist.

As a result students' ability to communicate about artworks expanded and they were also mindful of the contexts of artworks as part of their conversations. Students were also able to discuss and evaluate their own work in relation to 'real, live' artworks by established artists.

From left; Sheyne Tuffery (artist) and year 13 students, Lorraine Higgins (artist) and senior students, drawing workshop with Zarahn Southon (artist) and Jude Woods (teacher)

Curriculum links

Students were encouraged to value ecological sustainabilty, inquiry and curiosity.

The programme supported them to think about how they communicated ideas, through the use of visual language; symbol and metaphor.

All four strands of the Visual arts curriculum were integrated as students explored the use of materials, and how they could communicate ideas visually:

  1. Understanding the Arts in Context
  2. Developing Ideas
  3. Developing Practical Knowledge
  4. Communicating and Interpreting

Related learning

Students were able to see the reciprocal relationship between the information and ideas constructed in workshops and other learning areas such as:

Science 

English  

Technology  

Impact on school community

Complex interactions between students, teachers, community, newspapers, local iwi and the school added depth to planning and learning about art. The profile of the school was enhanced by raising the awareness of the importance of art in our wider community.

The flexibility of time enabled artists' visits to be spread across the year and created a sense that there were ongoing enriching activities in the Art Department. A feeling of being more included within the school community was created and as a result the Art Department was made more 'visible'.

Comments

Artists were able to integrate their expert knowledge with NCEA programmes through the Artists in Schools project. They also found values in different aspects of the project such as:

The dialogue and the exchange of student values and mine were invaluable. I gained new perspectives and ideas from the students, which I will reflect into my own work.

(Lorraine Higgins, artist)

The collaborative work with the students was positive and it was good to share ideas and approaches.

(Katie Pai, artist)

The exposure of my work to the students, their teachers and their families.

(Lorraine Higgins, artist)

Teachers found the use of new processes and materials related to drawing painting, video, and large canvases in the classroom inspiring. The artists' presence provided the motivation to produce new and meaningful artworks by reflecting on other new works. In addition the artists' feedback on the students' work and school programmes provided new situations for learning and improvements as constructive feed-forward. A highlight was noted as:

First-hand experience of 'the artist' in a working environment and the opportunity to work in a one-to-one situation with their artworks and concerns.

(Jude Woods, Head of the Art Department)

Where to next

This project was successful because of the diversity of the artists' strengths and interests providing students with access to a range of styles and practices: Sheyne Tuffery, woodcuts (Pasifika, environmental issues); Katy Pai mixed media (Māori focus, wearable art); Zarahn Southon, drawing and painting techniques, (contemporary classical realism); Lorraine Higgins mixed media (large format).

These experiences have ensured a diverse approach will be maintained within the Art Department at Howick and provides clear artistic and career pathways for emerging artists as they leave school.

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