My four Saturdays with the We Can Kids
THIS is one of the highlights in 2021! I have carried out an art module for 4 weekends for students of We Can Academy. I don't know what other words to describe than very fulfilling.
It started two years ago, actually. Mei Yi and I met for lunch one afternoon in 2019 as she explains to me her new endeavour - a school! She invited me to do a class on art for her students, but it wasn't the right time for me as I was going to go abroad for an art residency programme. Then the pandemic happened and the entire world got cancelled.
Fast forward to 2021. After the last lift of MCO, Mei Yi did not hesitate to reinstate the physical classes and the idea of having an art module as planned before.
We had a Zoom call and now understanding in more details of her vision and mission for her students and the school. I must say that I highly respect her tireless work to pull this together. The beauty that she radiates when she talks about her kids.
The kids are from striving neighbourhoods. The school, her school, aims to nurture selected group of kids for three years, bridge the gap by bringing a community of professionals to introduce students to wide ranging subjects and skills to provide truly holistic learning. Many of them do not enjoy the basic privilege we have including internet and a mobile device.
I was all ready to do it even when I didn't know how I was going to teach. Instead of cracking my head over the topic, I shared with them my most current endeavour - merchandising.
Sharing my experience being a self-taught artist in Malaysia
The goal is to expose the kids to our industry and share real-life scenarios, in my case - the art scene! We talked about the type of art, gallery ecosystem, exploring art materials, and business.
Turning drawings into merchandise
We started the second week with sketching, drawing and colouring. I shared some painting techniques using salt and alcohol that they can use to create fun texture and pattern.
We Made Stickers!
I got them to submit their drawings to me so that I have enough time to scan and edit for sticker production. The final product is so satisfying! Aren't they cute! I have competition here!
Working towards an exhibition
I know I wanted the kids to visit an art gallery for their field trip, hoping this experience will let them feel less foreign to an art gallery. The idea of having their artwork exhibited in a gallery was quite wild. Yet when I proposed to Dymphna, the founder of Inner Joy Art, she was ready to make it an official event. I was so thrilled with our project!
On their third week, we painted on canvas and it was everyone's first time! I was the terrible teacher that gave them less than 3 hours to complete a "masterpiece" for their exhibition. Haha!
The young artist and their artwork
The "Big Day"
The day we all been looking forward to! The field trip! But most importantly, their very own exhibition. This is eye opening experience for the kids.
Yes. The QR code is still active! Scan it to view.
Dymphna started the day with an art tour, sharing the current artworks that is being exhibited in Inner Joy Art. She explains the type of artwork and how viewers can look at it. Art literacy is one of the things the school would really love to touch on. What better way to do it than in an art gallery.
We have session where artist share a little about them and what their artwork is about.
I enjoyed my April Saturdays with We Can Academy and I hope we have managed to entice the kids in the field of art!
When I was a kid their age, I never knew being an artist was an option for occupation. Many times we don't understand what a job entices. I hope the kids get some insights and are inspired to create. If they love art as I do, I hope now they, too, believe that they can turn what they love doing into their job, and all is possible despite current circumstances.