The ARTLINK 2018 programme is a community outreach initiative by Art Outreach to empower underprivileged children through exposure to the arts. During this year’s June School Holidays, they partnered with us to organised a 5 day art workshop for our children and youths at U_SPACE. Together, we explored the theme of “Best of Me”, aiming to use art to help the children explore different aspects of themselves as people of character.
For the first day, we started off with the theme of Emotions. The children played games such as matching emojis to a specific emotion, and also through Pablo Picasso’s style of art called Cubism. In ‘Matching Emojis‘, the children realised the difficulty of matching each emoji accurately, because each emoji could mean more than one emotion. This activity taught them that emotions can be complex, and sometimes identifying our own emotions can also be a challenge. In Cubism, this style of art allowed the children freedom to choose whichever emotion they wanted to express. They had free reign in describing, identifying and expressing themselves through their portraits.
It an awesome first day to kick start this workshop, highlighting to the children about something they experience daily, but hardly pay any attention to. They learnt that though emotions are a wonderful thing, they must be aware and sensitive to their emotions as well as the emotions of others.
After learning about emotions, the children learnt more about being sensitive to each other’s emotions – introducing the theme of Empathy! It is the next level of emotions and relating, where the focus is not on our own emotions, but taking the emotions of another into consideration. The children played an activity where they had to find 10 different textures with each person in the team having a different handicap (being unable to walk, unable to talk, or unable to see). With each person’s weakness, another had his strength. This required them to look out for one another, and be each other’s eyes, mouths, or feet! This also taught them the importance of teamwork and how teamwork would be difficult without empathy. There were funny moments where the one who was unable to talk, was trying to give directions to the one who was unable to see through sounds, groans and action — that led all of us to burst out in laughter at the hilarious sight. All in the name of good fun, the children realised how difficult it is when we are handicapped, and thus how important it is to help each other as a team.
To further emphasize on the importance of teamwork, we went out on an excursion to explore the art pieces in 3 of the train stations in Singapore, namely the Stadium, Nicoll Highway and Promenade stations! Working together in teams of 3, they created their very own art pieces, inspired by the artwork that surrounded them. From creating picture perfect moments to their very own mini “Water droplet” installation, they had a fun time learning about the artworks and teamwork!
Now that they learnt about working well as a team, the next lesson was on keeping focused! We played a game where the children had to rely on the voice of another friend, to guide them through a human obstacle course. Without focusing on their friend’s voice, they would not know where to go and bump into the obstacle! Focus was also explored through the art form of Pointillism. It uses individual dots to eventually create a whole piece of art. Doing this activity trained the children to keep focus — on their end goal, and also on their current task at end — to keep dotting till they achieve what they have set out to create! Through these activities, they learnt that focus is necessary in order to see our plans through to accomplishment.
Finally, on the last day of the workshop, the children explored the theme of resilience. The children had to identify different uses for some everyday items. Unconventional as it may be, they learn that there can always be more than one way to see things in life, and that creativity and perspective will help us to solve problems. In the final activity, the children had to put different materials together to form a strong and sturdy sculpture to withstand strong winds and heavy weights. These materials included harder ones like toilet rolls, and weaker ones like straws. This required the children’s creativity to put them together in a way that allowed the structure to be the most resilient. We learnt that strong materials had it’s place in anchoring the sculpture, but even weaker materials, when put in strategic places, has their part to play to strengthen the whole sculpture.
All in all, we learnt that whether weak or strong, empathy – being aware of each other’s feelings, teamwork – coming together cohesively, each in their own specific ways, and focus in getting the sculpture completed, were all important values, to create a resilient sculpture that could withstand strong winds and heavy weights. It was a great life lesson for the children to show them the importance of being resilient against the winds of life, and the stresses of the world.
A big thank you to Art Outreach Singapore for partnering with us to enrich the lives of our children. Also to the artists, Calvin and Liping, thank you for imparting to the children valuable life lessons through the arts!
Everything that you can imagine is real.
~ Pablo Picasso