Sunday, May 28, 2017

Faces of Kindergarten

I was in an elementary school the other day and happened upon a series of self-portraits by kindergartners. The first one that caught my eye was this one:

I thought: Was that really painted by a 5-year-old? It seems too controlled, too reduced to visual concepts that aren't the simple ones 5-year-olds usually grasp. The nose, for instance, or the awareness of contrast between the background and the light-colored hair. It's almost like something by Maira Kalman.

But then I saw the paintings that flanked it. To the right:

And to the left:

(I have no idea what this girl thinks she is portraying by making her eyes this way, but I love the way they look both like bug eyes and like a pair bugs.)

These kids are going to be modern artists.

And this child in particular is going to be an expressionist:

Their teacher wrote the following to accompany these paintings and the short autobiographies that were also posted:

In the classroom, we read books such as All the Colors of the Earth and We Are All Alike, We Are Different, the poem "My People" by Langston Hughes, and are reading many other stories from different cultural traditions. We also have been looking at photographs and listening to biographies of children around the world. Students have been studying and discussing their own and others’ uniqueness.

One day, after looking in mirrors, the kindergartners drew self-portraits, then created faces out of found objects on people-colored construction-paper ovals…

During this time, the art teacher has been having students look closely at themselves and do the large painted self portraits you see here using the recipe they made of their skin color. 

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

The last one looks a lot like a Willem de Kooning.