Art Exchange with Kenya

Gr. 6 Art Exchange with Kenya
Click on image for slideshow

The Gr. 6’s participated in an art exchange with a school in Kenya. The exchange was facilitated by Mrs. Addison (Gr. 6 Teacher) and Yorkie Alum Grace Ling, who just started a teaching internship at a primary school called Indupa in the town of Mile 46 in the Kajiado District (southern Kenya).

Grace made the following suggestions: “…the students could draw/paint scenes of where they live – this could be a picture of their neighbourhood, the forest, the beach, their favourite park, and could include pictures of themselves, friends, or family in these places. If your class feels that they want to create images of anything else that they feel is representative of life in Vancouver/Canada, they should feel free to go ahead and be creative!”

Mrs. Addison is very excited about this project: “we are truly living in a Global Village – 6Y has had 1,000 cranes delivered to Japan after the earthquake, and now 6Y artwork is off to Kenya!” Before sending the art off to Kenya, she photographed the pieces. See the slideshow by clicking on the image above. It is truly amazing what the girls have done!

Here is a little bit of background from Grace, on this area of Kenya:

The majority of students in this area of Kenya are from Maasai families. In the past, no Maasai children went to school but now, more and more children are going. Maasai have traditionally lived off cattle herding alone but this is becoming a more difficult livelihood to maintain because the government is encouraging land subdivision and privatization (which often means fencing as well) and so there is less grazing land available for cattle. Many Maasai today are diversifying their livelihoods – they still keep cattle because they are of huge cultural value (a man’s wealth is measured in cattle) but they are also taking up jobs in tourism, unskilled labour, or professional jobs in the urban centres.

Parents recognize that their children now need education to have a good future and to get work outside of pastoralism, so they are sending their children to school. Unfortunately, schools are incredibly underfunded and have few school supplies (let alone art supplies!) They learn similar subjects as kids in Canada – Science, Math, Social Studies, English and Swahili (their first language is Maa), but they do not have PE or Art. For most of them, the art exchange would be the first time that they are encouraged to express themselves creatively, so to share their art with Canadian students and to see what kind of art Canadians their age make is an exciting opportunity!

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