In art class this week, the children are watching this video, to see a glimpse into a small and disappearing subculture of art & cuisine. In Tokyo, you can visit the workshop or showroom of this artist, Shinri Tezuka, who makes amezaiku, traditional edible candy sculptures.
It is said Japanese amezaiku originated in the 8th century. During the Edo period, craftsmen peddled amezaiku on the street, as a kind of entertainment for the common people. The technique of amezaiku has no detailed written documentation and has been inherited from person to person over generations. Today in Tokyo, there are only two remaining Amezaiku craftsmen.
Tezuka-san’s website can be viewed HERE (in English) and HERE (in Japanese).
In their homeroom classes the Grade 1 students studied how family history provides insight into one’s own personal identity. So in art class the students reflected on their classroom discussions and then drew and painted and colored their self-/family-portraits. In this unit — focused on the concept of REFLECTION — each student developed the background of his/her picture by adding imagery from the memory of family events or from knowledge of his/her family’s history. In the foreground of each student’s picture is their own self-portrait, drawn & painted from observation, using mirrors.
See the students at work, above, reflecting on their own family histories and attempting to depict them through various processes: drawing from observation, drawing realistically, practicing mixing new colors, and depicting details so that the audience can understand the stories and events.
Created in response to a range of stimuli (photos, storybooks, conversations, sharing of personal experiences), students made personal connections to their artworks as they developed. The task proved challenging as the students had to reflect — on their inquiries in the homeroom class and at home with parents — to determine how to represent, visually, what they envision in their minds and what they can discuss verbally.
In our first unit of inquiry, the Kindergarten students have been looking at the concept of Change and how personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities. We are looking at how our artwork changes and grows over time, from ELC last year, to Kindergarten this year, and on to Grade 1 next year.
In the artistic journey that these young artists have begun, they have
drawn & painted their own self-portraits from observation
observed and discussed different artists’ self-portraits
experimented with a variety of lines, shapes, colors, tools, materials, and processes in creating personal 3-D crowns
begun making choices about artworks based on personal preferences and interests.
We aim to enjoy experiencing artworks, to show curiosity and ask questions about them, and to realize that our artwork has meaning.
At the same time, the students are becoming familiar with the elementary school art studio, learning what and where our materials and tools are, and practicing being responsible, cooperative classmates in storing artwork properly and cleaning up our workspaces.