Wednesday 12 November 2014

Development of Schools Programmes for Learners with Special Needs

Twenty students from Rutherford College’s Satellite unit visited the Gallery last term to participate in our Signs and Symbols (shape, pattern and colour) pilot programme – including a Gallery and Studio session.

We began with a quick impromptu tour of parts of the Gallery (I couldn’t not – the kids were so excited to be here!) They loved it! It was a good way to introduce the idea of symbols – particularly shape, pattern and colour and of course, the Gallery. It would definitely be good to do this each time they visit so we can reinforce ideas/experiences, give them opportunities to remember and draw on past experiences here and gradually extend their experiences, responses and understandings. I want them to feel at home here. Posing questions in each space gave them something to focus on.

We then spent time in one of the Gallery spaces, looking at these two artworks:

Sandy Adsett, Waipuna, 1978
Gordon Walters, Genealogy 5, 1971
We looked closely at the work and spoke about what we noticed. In small groups the children manipulated a selection of different coloured shapes to help them understand the work better. Then they made their own patterns using the shapes provided, which we compared to the artwork.

The art making session in the studio allowed everyone to feel proud of their work. Each student chose a symbol that said something about them (e.g. plane, computer, cat) and made a stencil which they drew around to make 8-12 identical shapes in a colour(s) of their choice. They experimented with pattern by moving the shapes around their chosen background paper. The use of more technical terms such as overlapping, reflecting and rotating then modelling what I meant was good for some of the students when making their patterns. They chose their favourite pattern and glued it in place.

They shared and reflected on their work. How can you tell who made this? What could it tell us about the person? Does this pattern/shape seem to match the person who made it? How? How do the colours tell us about the person who made it? Which patterns are similar? How? How could you describe the patterns?

Here’s some of the work made by the students in the studio session:

A focus on pattern, shape and colour seemed appropriate for this group. They were able to draw on prior knowledge and make connections with things they are familiar with. They could be successful but still had the opportunity to learn some new ideas through making comparisons, observing closely and participating in an activity related to the work.

Future considerations: 

I would like to visit the regular groups at their school so I can see how the teachers work and interact with them and the types of programmes they participate in. Also as a way of building my relationship with them, getting to know them and their needs better (and their teachers) and for my own professional development.

Where to now?

Five other schools have booked in to participate in this pilot programme over the next few weeks. Once I have taught everyone, received feedback from the teachers and made changes where necessary, I would like to make this programme part of our standard programmes permanently on offer to schools. Then on to the next pilot programme – Portraiture and Identity!

As the two artworks used above are no longer on show in the Gallery we will use the works below:

Jonathan Jones, untitled (sum of the parts), 2010/2014 
Michael Parekowhai, The Bosom of Abraham, 1999
– Mandy Jakich, Educator LEOTC

Image credits:

Sandy Adsett
Waipuna 1978
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1995

Gordon Walters
Genealogy 5 1971
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Gift of Dame Jenny Gibbs in honour of Chris Saines, Gallery Director (1996-2013)

Jonathan Jones
Kamilaroi / Wiradjuri people

untitled (sum of the parts) 2010/2014
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2010
Courtesy the artist and Tim Melville Gallery

Michael Parekowhai
The Bosom of Abraham 1999
Edition 2/14
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1999


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I like so much the "The Bosom of Abraham" it's beautiful.

I was looking a lamp for gallery light like this and come here.