Printmaking with Project Playground

Today was such an amazing day! I had the opportunity to work with several members of the South Africa National Gallery’s education department including Annette Laubsche and Kathy Coates, as well as a print making artist named Sophie on a work shop for children in grades 3 to 8. All together we had a group of 15 children in attendance; 13 from a holiday program in one of the more rural provinces called Project Playground and the other two from a school for children with disabilities, the two in particular that participated in the work shop suffered from downs syndrome.  In this work shop the topic of discussion was to inspire the children to care about and for the environment both globally and in their own country or towns. We started the work shop by taking the children on a tour around the museum. We focused specifically on two exhibitions. The first was a photography exhibit that focused on the South African Land Act. In this part of the tour Kathy gave them a brief background on what the act was all about while also asking them questions to make them think about how the Land Act has an effect on them. This was a very interesting scene to witness because it seemed as though these kids have very little knowledge about it, so it was great to see them discover something about their own country’s past and hear the opinions that they had about it. After this discussion we took the group through the exhibition and discussed some particular photographs that exemplified what the children had just learned about the Land Act in an attempt to put a physical image to information they were just given. By doing this we were able to show them environmental issues in their country both past and present. The second exhibit we took them through had a variety of paintings with several and here we asked the kids to explore for a few minutes and find a painting with their favorite landscape. After we did this we had the children describe why they picked that particular painting, forcing them start using the language that would help them in understanding their environment, as well as the next part of their work shop. For final part of this work shop, we took the kids group over to the annex of the National Gallery where we had Sophie give a demonstration for the kids on how to do print making. After the demonstration we gave all each of the children tools to make their own prints. They carved out a design that they conjured up from their experience with the environment so they would be able to make their own landscape prints. After they were finished making two of their prints they were able to take one home and then with the other we made a small exhibition in the annex. Overall it was a great experience for both the staff involved but more importantly for the children. It was really cool being able to do prints with them especially since in the first couple of weeks in this program we had spent a good amount of time learning the process and today I was very happy that I actually knew what I was talking about when I would go and help these kids in their learning process. I really hope to be able to do more work like this for the duration of my stay here because I have to say that it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.



3 thoughts on “Printmaking with Project Playground

  1. Terrific blog Hilary…great to see your experience at Artists Proof Studio contributed to your ability to assist with the workshop—Kurt

  2. Hillary, this sounds so fantastic. I’m curious if you noticed any connections to what we learned about the Land Act at that wild exhibition we went to at the Convention Center? Also, what kind of printmaking did you do? So fun. Keep the updates coming!

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