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Drawing Room Gallery (2021-2023)

Between 2021 and 2023 I delivered several workshops and artist talks for children, families, teachers and general public in partnership with Drawing Room Gallery and Freelands Foundation.

These events explored drawing as a multifaceted and process-driven journey. I used my own art practice as a springboard to create individual and collaborative games for participant that explore light, reflection and shadow. These games required participants to move between exploring 2D and 3D mediums.

In particular, I delivered two 6-week long projects at Grange Primary School (2022) and Tower Bridge Primary School (2023).

I created an environment for children to transform the classroom into an artist studio and encouraged children to experiment, collaborate, and above all have fun.

The objective of these games was to encourage children to gain a holistic approach into the process of art making, practice problem solving, exercise collaboration, not be afraid of taking risks, gain understanding of contemporary art, and above all have fun.

These sessions were designed in close communication with the children's teacher. My intention was to establish a parallel between science and art.

Every session started with the central question and a quick debate around “What does it mean to be an artist?”. I used this question as a springboard to recap what we had done in previous session and generate momentum for what is going to happen during the workshop.

Below is a list of some of the games I facilitated during these projects.

Making self-portraits

I facilitated a series of games where children experimented with outlining and tracing their face on a paper, mirror, and clear acetate sheet.

This game explored drawing as a spontaneous medium to capture children's raw expressions and spontanious gestures. My intention was to create a playful environment for children to approach artmaking as a fun activity. My other central aim was to establish mutual trust and friendship between myself and the children.

What do you look like as an artist?

This game further explored children's understanding of what it means to be an artist. I asked children to draw themselves as artists in the future. I emphasised they don't have to make art to be considered an artist. Instead they can draw themselves pursuing any career they like and still consider themselves as an artist.

Observational mirror games

I facilitated a series of games where children observed themselves, their friends and their surrounding environment via a mirror or multiples of mirrors. These games enabled children to perceive a common object such as a mirror as an object with infinite potential for artmaking.
Furthermore, some of the games were designed so children collaborate with each other and practice empathy.

Children also played with putting mirrors in conjunction with each other to displace their surrounding environment and self-portraits.

Artmaking as a journey

In this game children collaborated and came up with a map of the journeys their alter egos do everyday from their house to the school. The children paid close attention to highlighting the journey as the most important and most fun part of travelling. Hence, they imagined their alter egos encountering a series of bizarre and extraordinary sights when travelling towards their destination.

The objective of this game was to emphasise the journey of artmaking as the most interesting part of artmaking and highlighting the process of artmaking or the journey.

 

Children also made paths in the playground using electrical tapes. These paths were used by them to walk and explore their surrounding with my portable mirror sculptures.

Performing with self-portraits 

This game explored art-making as a journey that integrates various techniques and medium such as drawing, sculpture making, storytelling and performance. Children then used their self-portrait drawings sculptures with wire and pipe cleaners. My intention was to emphasise even seemingly a ‘bad drawing’ could be explored more thoroughly to create a beautiful 3d sculpture, which will turn into a puppet. After making their sculptures, children performed shadow puppetry by drawing their narrative on their stage.

This game highlighted problem solving in making art is an inherent attribute of being an artist.

Human body as sculpture

This game explored drawing as an action of tracing human anatomy and incorporated principles of performance art.

In this game children danced and posed in front of a screen. Other children traced and drew the dancer’s shadow on a long roll of paper.

 

Children then engaged in collective painting using the drawings they had made earlier from their peers’ shadows.

Drawing with light

This game explored the materiality of light. Children explored drawing with flashlights and magnifiying glasses in front of a camera with slow shutter speed.

After discussing children’s drawings with light, they played a game of making abstract gestures on paper to express their feelings.

Playing LEGO with mirror fragments

This game was based on my own professional practice. It enabled children to gain visual understanding into my process of sculpture making.

In one version of the game I asked children  to make spontaneous marks on the back of my acrylic mirror fragments (made from recycle plastic). Using mirror fragments and copper pipes, we then played a Lego-like game where children constructed various compositions by joining mirror fragments.

In the other version of this game I initially asked children to make spontaneous drawings on foam with their eyes closed. They then cut the shapes out and glued flexible mirror fragments. These served as LEGO blocks. Children played with these blocks and created sculptures by bending and attaching them together.

Celebration

Each of these projects concluded by having a celebration event.

 

In Grange School I curated and displayed the artworks made by children. 

In addition to that, I produced a poem and handed it to children to take home. The poem emphasised being an artist is about having a specific state of mind. So they can choose any careers such as a hairdresser and still be an artist at heart.

I was also commissioned by the school to design and make an interactive mirror sculpture to for the school. This sculpture was a collaboration between me and the children and was permanently installed in the school's playground. 

Fore more information please click here.

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In Tower Bridge Primary children added helium inflated balloons to their mirror sculptures. They then performed a catwalk fashion show carrying their floating sculptures in the assembly hall.

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