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Mt Richmond School

Region: Auckland

Art form: Visual Arts

Project name: Mātauranga

Creative name

Project information: “Art is a great equaliser, that transcends language, that transcends culture, that transcends disability.” - Tom Di Maria, Creative Growth Director 

This project will be the establishment of an accessible and equitable art space in South Auckland where students with special and different needs can explore a variety of art making opportunities. It will be thoughtfully designed for individuals of all abilities to gain mastery (mātauranga) by learning new skills through enriching activities, aimed to provide each artist with opportunities to tap personal talents, build self-esteem, and enhance well-being. 

The project aligns with the Reggio Emilia philosophy of the school. Reggio principle “child as communicator, the child as protagonist.” Students, ākonga and kaiako will meet weekly to explore different art media and ways of exploring their individual artistic process in a supportive space designed to respond to special needs. By offering a range of different media and processes provides “breakthrough” opportunities. For some, this will be an opportunity to begin their journey to participate and contribute beyond the classroom. 

The students will be encouraged to invent their own drawings and paintings using innovative, non-traditional tools, discarded items, and the natural environment. Reggio principle “environment as the third teacher”.

An important benefit for both the Mt Richmond community and our creatives would be the strengthening of the connection between “outsider artists”, in a tuakana teina relationship with role models who know their identity as “outsider artists” and Mt Richmond students who are on a journey of self-discovery through art. Reggio principle “people as collaborators”. 

Artworks will be both individual and collaborative, offering flexibility for all students to contribute and make their mark. Each student will build up a portfolio of process and finished work over the duration of the project to make the learning visible. The portfolio will be tangible, hands-on evidence of their developing identity as an artist to keep building on for the future. 

A public exhibition of the students’ pieces will be open to whānau, friends and the community. The anticipated benefits of this will be visibility and recognition for individuals who can at times, feel marginalised and overlooked in everyday life; increased self-esteem and well-being when they can see themselves represented as bona fide artists in the community; a tangible goal for each artist to work towards the exhibition; an authentic art world experience. Another benefit will be for the wider South Auckland community, to come to know innovative and intriguing ideas that challenge conventional notions of art and what it means to be an artist.

Project starting: February 2022

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