Working with kids in Hunan, China!
I would say this trip to China would be high on my list as a career highlight experience. I was sponsored by the Hunan Government in China to teach and spend time with the local kids at their prominent Art Centre.
My day started at 9am, when 32 kids from the Qingyuan Education Group got off the school bus and arrived at the Art Centre. They were introduced to their day’s activity in an assembly-like fashion. I introduced myself on stage to them all explaining my role and how the mural process will work. So grateful for my translator to get me through!
I started the artwork by painting the outlines of the shapes that will then need to be coloured in by the kids. I chose an animal them as this theme was very prominent in my early mural work when I first started out in Sydney. I ensured some Aussie animals were in the artwork for educational purposes! A large metal sheet was chosen for the back drop due to its durability and unique effect it has against bright colours. Something ‘outside the box’ for the kids to work with.
Once outlines were finished, I joined the group in making bread for the lunch. This activity was an educational process for all involved as it reflected the area’s work in agriculture. I was asked a few questions in an informal setting during the baking class with the kids, and then after lunch all the kids were seated outside, opposite the mural. This was an opportunity for the kids to ask any questions regarding pursuing a career as an artist.
It was then my favourite part of the day - painting! I guided the activity with the kids approaching the mural 4 at a time and painting a portion of the mural. This continued for about 2 hours, after which the mural was finished!
The kids took a rest, as I signed the certificates of a short course completion. To end the day, I was asked to present each certificate in a ceremony, where each kid was called on individually for their accomplishment.
What I really valued from this experience is looking at the final result and knowing I collaborated with a whole bunch of young creatives. It was a fun day and I what I took away from it is the drive to continually work with creatives from a different walk of life and life perspective.
For any of our Chinese speaking friends, feel free to read an article written in the local paper on this experience: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/fhPeSiE8xFWFCrcK1d0uqw
All video and photo content below! Enjoy!