Electricity Sparks and The Creative Mind Expresses

 

The electricity that sparks when a student makes their own personal connections in response to the world around them, is truly what helps drive a lesson in the IB. That is exactly what happened when Shreya Margale whispered to me during her visual arts class. She wanted to use her MUN experience as a spring board for discovering the magic that happens in the studio. For Shreya, the MYP process journal suddenly became a research project based on a contemporary world issue.

To help explain Shreya’s thought process, we have to consider the impact technology has had on Governments around the globe. As a result of technology, social activism doesn’t just happen in one country, it happens the world over especially when students apply their understanding of Global Contexts. In this case, Shreya is concentrating her efforts at developing methods of collage and mark making by educating and advocating the concept of fairness and development.

You may be wondering, “What does world politics, governments, and Activism have to do with art class?” For the teenage student, times have changed and the whole idea of school life has evolved into what we have become familiar with here at MBIS. Most International Teachers or, “expats” if you wish, grew up with the concept of fieldtrips being a visit to the zoo or a bus ride to a local museum. They also grew up understanding the phrase, “It’s a small world.” As the concept of fieldtrips evolves and traveling between countries becomes a normal part of the school year, the 21st century student’s perception of the world is literally shrunk into a bite size chunk of knowledge and malleable information. News of events that happen in India, very quickly spread to all corners of the globe through social media. It is a very small world after all, isn’t it?

Two Thousand and Seventeen was a year marked by many controversial topics and one of those topics happened to be our very own definition of gender and equality. India deals with it’s very own unique issues of gender based concepts and challenges. If you delve into the world of the MYP4 student, your world might just become smaller and the issues they are interested in are most likely the same issues confronting a student half way across the planet.

As we dive deep into Shreya’s process journal, her artistic statement and intention are easily supported through collage as an art form. Literally cutting and pasting gave birth to some of the most treasured works of art by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, or John Stezaker. As I look through the pages of Shreya’s process journal, I see images that illustrate and provide some very nice examples of Hannah Hoch’s work as she also used collage as a media for expression. Shreya uses her research to better understand how an artist so powerfully expresses very personal ideas that resonate with her audience.

Documenting her understanding of Art history and discussing for the sole purpose of collaboration and developing a concept is what you will walk away with if you read the detailed information in her sketchbook.

Shreya’s process journal began growing in page numbers. Her work was being shared because the process and concept of her expression was organized so creatively that other students began to take notice. As the students and teachers made themselves comfortable for that long travel home after school, the idea of a small world trickled right down to our big yellow and blue school buses. I hopped onto bus number 11 and quickly asked Mrs. Lila Ravichandran (MUN Supervisor) to remind me in the morning to share Shreya’s wonderful process journal. Little did I know, Shreya was sitting just seven seats back and her ears immediately perked up when she recognized her name. MUN, Visual Arts, and Shreya’s self-expression complimented by her skills with writing to tell a story and reading or listening to understand issues that face the world at large, is happening right between the pages of the MYP Process Journal.

It is an awesome experience when I literally witness a voice that grows from a whisper to the sound of confidence and pride. Every Monday morning and Thursday afternoon, during our MYP4 Visual Arts Class, if given a chance to discuss the progress of her unit, the volume in Shreya’s conversation grows stronger and stronger. I cannot wait to see her final resolved work and I’m sure it will resonate with you too if you just stand back and enjoy.

Joseph Coburn