This grand collaboration of over 100 grade 5 and 6 students, 5 teachers, the principal, vice-principle, administration and volunteers was amazing. We started in October and had over 7 sessions dedicated (a full morning or afternoon or a whole day and some afterschool time) to this project. The slideshow above shows the process as well as the finished banners hanging in the lobby.

The Artstarts grant required that the project connect an art form with another subject area. In this project, Identity, Society and Culture is one of the curriculum organizers for grades 5 and 6 social studies: Students learn about the characteristics that define self, cultures, and societies, and the similarities and differences within and across cultures over time.

Visual art intersected with social studies as the students weaved a tapestry of who they are, what they value and what is important to them as a community of learners. More specifically, in grade 6, the learning outcomes include assessing diverse concepts of Canadian identify, and relating a society’s artistic expression to it’s culture. The students worked to examine a variety of artistic styles related to a specific culture and use this as a launching point for delving into an artistic expression of the culture at David Brankin school.

The final form were 3 fabric banners employing techniques of collage and storytelling through fabric arts. Materials such as sari fabric, ribbon, or cloth (with the optional addition of students bringing an item from home) were used to explore various textures, colours, shapes and ways of visual representation to express concepts of self, culture and society.

Through brainstorming and asking ‘What are our shared values?’, ‘In what ways was David Brankin special?’ and ‘What do we value most about our school?’ the students concluded:

We are all characters in our school story. We all want a happy ending.

We began all together meeting in the gym to discuss and write our thoughts and share our answers to these questions. We worked in small groups, pairs and individually to create sample designs. We then reviewed designs, voted and jumped right into playing with fabrics, cutting shapes and combining various textures and colours. We learned the art of working with fabrics and chose fabrics common to South Indian and Canadian homes that represented the student population.

Fabric was the medium of choice to create a great first impression to all who come and show our pride in unity and diversity.

The imagery showcases fun loving, simplistic forms created from primary shapes as jovial characters. Our story depicted with the tree of knowledge from which paper is derived and books written express the school as a community of learners. We end with ours hearts expressed in every colour encompassing our world with our shared vision for happiness.

Through our collective effort and skill we worked as a team and all had a hand in creating 3 beautiful banners that adorn the front lobby, welcoming anyone who enters for years to come.


Note: I’d like to thank NICOLAI HEIDLAS from Wetzlar, Germany for the Royalty Free Upbeat Ukulele Background Music for this slideshow.

These three songs were used:
Into the Clouds, Vanilla Ice Cream and Summertime.

Nicolai’s music and contact can be found here:……

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