Arts Education, Physical Education
Physical Education, Home Economics (Textiles), and Applied Skills
Re-evaluating the Mediums of Expression
How Does our Body Influence Art?
Strategies and Approaches:
Socratic questioning, team building, experiential learning, informal assessment, critical thinking, prompting.
Background for Students:
Hema Upadhyay was introduced to the arts by her grandfather. Inspired by art fairs and competitions she began to create her own work by using unconventional artistic materials and styles. As her artistry developed, she became aware of her work’s purpose as well as the materials and mode of expression she wanted to use. In this work, the narrative around ‘Loco-Foco-Motto’ refers to materials which will ignite when they come into contact with another substance, much like the anxiety, tension, and danger of the matchsticks that make up her chandeliers.
Through discussion, ensure students form an expanded meaning of ‘art’ and ‘unconventional materials.’ Encourage them to think about the art making process and the larger issue of why someone may make art. Have them think about different art pieces that may not have previously been considered art and discuss its purpose.
Scrap wood, fabric, paper, paper clips, string, tape, wool, cardboard, coat hangers, wire, toothpicks, chopsticks, popsicle sticks, scissors, wire cutters, duct tape, prepare labels for students ‘physical assignments’ as listed below. **For safety purposes, never use matches. **Banksy video clip?
15-20 mins, Open/Reflect: Welcoming Multiple Interpretations
- Students are encouraged to disengage from their recent experience and their busy surroundings to practice mindfulness.
- Direct students to ‘mindfully’ (quietly/individually) explore the piece and develop their own
- interpretation. More information on mindfulness for the classroom can be found here.
- Direct each student to share their interpretation of the piece without judgement.
- Connect students’ individual interpretations to the background information provided above.
45 mins, Challenge
- Divide class into equal teams (4-5 students per team).
- Each student is designated with a physical assignment. Each student from here on in must act within that physical assignment. They are as follows: no use of left arm, no use of right arm, no use of sight, no use of legs, no use of speech.
- Arrange all teams to be on one side of a designated area and arrange all ‘artistic’ materials at the opposite end of the designated area (approximately 20 yards away).
- Explain to the teams when advised they will be directed to gather materials within a certain time frame (45 seconds). Remind team that they are to stay true to their physical assignment during this process.
- For artistic inspiration, prior to directing the students to gather their materials, read the students the following short story: A work of art can be made with unconventional materials. Using our bodies, capabilities and knowledge, we can transmit our ideas into visual images. Utilizing your team and the objects you acquire, challenge your team to exercise your groups’ voice and focus on the artistic process of creation.
- Blow the whistle, commence challenge and allow students 25 minutes to create an artistic piece of work while still being true to their physical assignment. Check-in with students and emphasize that they will have to explain their artistic process during the debriefing.
- If students require more materials they can complete physical challenges but must complete the artwork within 25 minutes. The challenges are as follows:
- Get your team into a ‘human knot’ and untangle yourself within 1 minute.
- Build a human pyramid
- Transfer an object between all team members without using your hands.
Debrief: Ensure students have considered the following: do students understand the importance of the artistic process and the difference between individual and collaborative creation. Have they begun to form an understanding of how physicality can play a part in forms of expression, ranging from unique opportunities to challenges? Do students understand that art and freedom of expression can utilize any materials available?
Further Suggested Activity: Encourage students to create a practical item using unconventional materials. For example, a wallet made out of gum wrappers or a purse made out duct tape.’