King and Queen

Arts Education, Language Arts, Planning, Social Studies

Sculpture Title:

King and Queen


Learning Lens:

Approaches to Learning; Community and Service


Curriculum Access:

Social Justice, Social Studies, ESL, Career and Personal Planning, Drama, English, Applied Skills



Evaluating how power and position can affect community and its potential.


Guiding Question:

How does power and position interplay with the process of learning?



Mindfulness practice, Socratic questioning, team building, experiential learning, informal assessment, critical thinking, prompting.


Background for Students:

Romanian born, Canadian artist Sorel Etrog is one of Canada’s preeminent artists, sculptors, painters, illustrators, poets and filmmakers. Born in 1933 his career has spanned over 40 years. His work is currently displayed around the world in prestigious galleries and private collections. In King and Queen, Etrog explores the relationship between man and machine (2). There is also the pronounced power and position inherent in the sculptures and their placement. Etrog has developed a complex visual vocabulary to create an art that explores the tension of our times. Etrog describes his art as “tension created by pulling together and pulling apart, with being stuck and being freed, a world of grabbing and holding on and losing hold … bringing shapes together but at the same time giving each an independence.” In this tension exists the exploration of power and position; the exploration of machine and society


Informal Assessment:

Through discussion, ensure students form an expanded meaning of power and position as it manifests in the learning environment of their school. Through discussion and Socratic questioning guide the students through a brainstorming exercise.



Pen and paper


Curricular Challenge:

15-20 minutes, Open/Reflect: Welcoming Multiple Interpretations

1. Students are encouraged to disengage from their recent experience and their busy surroundings to practice mindfulness.

2. Direct students to ‘mindfully’ (quietly/individually) explore the piece and develop their own interpretation.

*More information on mindfulness for the classroom can be found through

3. Direct each student to share their interpretation of the piece without judgement.

4. Connect students’ individual interpretations to the background information provided above.


60 + 45 minutes Challenge

Break students into dyads, one as the interviewer and one as the interviewee. Using probing questions, the interviewer records the interviewee’s perception of power and position within their learning environment.

The roles are then reversed and a composite list is compiled (15 minutes).

Students are then placed in groups of four and asked to brainstorm those aspects of power and position that work effectively in their learning and those that could be reshaped (15 minutes). As a representation of their ideas, students create a 1-2 minute non-verbal dramatic sketch of the reshaped learning environment to be performed for the entire class (30 minutes).


Class presentation and discussion (45 minutes)

Discussion: Through discussion and Socratic questioning, ensure students have considered the following: the difference between being taught and learning; control and self discipline; competition and cooperation; external motivation and self motivation. Have students reflect on their sketch using the above dichotomies.

Follow-up: In each Challenge there is a balance that needs to be struck; but, before this balance can be established, an in-depth, clear and unbiased investigation must take place. In groups or as a class, using mindfulness techniques, dichotomies, and values clarifications, have students work out the basis of their personal value/self worth. How can a developed awareness of self worth lead to change in the community/in the world? The guiding question is: Is self worth and personal value established internally or externally? With the assistance of a counsellor, allow students the freedom to evaluate race, sexual orientation, religion, body image, wealth… The challenge is: How can I bring a mindful attitude of self worth to the world? How will a mindful attitude of self worth change the world?