The end result of the drawing project is a photograph of the students’ hands covered with hand-drawn simple or elaborate patterns and words that reflect their hopes and fears. In order to get to this final product, ninth graders studied a series of artistic methods and artists to better understand identity expression through art.
Early in the semester, the students examined lines as a means of expression: Smooth lines are more calming, while jagged lines can imply agitation or stress. They connected this with early cave painting, as early art was expressive mark-making with symbols and simplified representations of everyday objects. Another artistic method the students engaged with was Zentangle designs, otherwise known as drawings of structured patterns. Zentangles urge the mind to draw freely and let lines and shapes emerge unintentionally. Then students were inspired by the work of African artist Laolu Senbanjo, who worked with patterns and simple line drawings to make art on objects. He then connected his work with tattoo art (as he had seen on his grandmother) by painting on the arms and faces of people.
After this research, the class reflected on their hopes and fears by finding images to support each one. GSVA students then partnered up to share these ideas and photographed one another’s hands against a background. The photos were printed out, and students used words, icons, expressive lines and patterns to dramatize and embellish one hand as hope and another to represent fear.
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