Art and Art Auction

Kara giving art lessonOne of the reasons I’m in Niger is to collect art from the students at the boarding school, which the Remember Niger Coalition supports.  The art will be auctioned off at an Art Auction Benefit in Ada, MI (just outside of Grand Rapids) on April 16. Early on it became clear to me that in order to collect art, it was necessary to provide art lessons…

I’ve had so much fun teaching art! For the past few days, I’ve given art lessons to three of the oldest classes (that would be 4th, 5th and 6th grades in the US). During the first morning, I walked into the class, introduced myself, and explained to the students that I was going to teach about art, and more specifically, how to draw an animal. I was a bit surprised when the children responded with blank faces. It was pretty clear that they didn’t know what I was talking about. Naturally, I assumed they couldn’t understand my French. However, their teacher explained that they didn’t know what art is because they don’t have a lot of opportunities to view or create art in Niger. Wow! How do you explain “art” in a second language?!  Needless to say, I kept it simple and quickly went on to the activity for the day.  We spent the next hour sketching a lion step by step. The students were thrilled with the results of their work, as was I!

Today, I taught the 4th grade about the Rock Art that can be found in the Sahara Desert in Niger. I explained that we don’t know who drew the animals and people on the rocks, but it’s quite old and famous. I had the students imagine that they were in the desert when suddenly they came across a huge rock. What would they like to draw? What is important and/or interesting in their lives, which would be worth drawing on the rock? Some of the things they picked were chickens, elephants, taxis, water buckets, flowers, houses, and siblings. After they practiced drawing these things they drew them on sand paper (which is the “rock”) with crayons. I’m really impressed with their level of creativity. They turned out very well! You’ll get to see the final results at the Art Auction in Ada, MI on April 16!