Maud Lewis was our Artist of the Month for November. I am certain that this tiny folk artist with the big smile never dreamed that one day her work would help to inspire children on the other side of the world to create their own art. After showing my grade five students a short film entitled I Can Make Art Like Maud Lewis, my classes were also inspired by the students at Joseph Howe Elementary School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the film some grade six students from the school learn about Maud Lewis with the help of local artist, Kyle Jackson. Working with Mr. Jackson the kids then create their own folk art mural of the city of Halifax.
When I showed the film to my students I really had not intended to do the same project, I just wanted the kids to learn about Maud Lewis. As soon as each of my fifth grade classes saw the video the first thing they said was “Can we do that project?” I couldn’t very well say no when they were so enthusiastic about it.
The project took a little longer to create than I had planned. Each class made a list of all the things they thought should be in the mural. It was interesting to see what each class thought were important symbols of Singapore. After the list was made, then came the hardest part…assigning them. Do you have any idea how many people wanted to paint the Merlion? Once we had settled those matters, as diplomatically as possible, we went to work drawing and painting various Singaporean landmarks on foamcore. Once they were painted and dry, it was time to cut them all out and mount them. That processes was a little chaotic, but in the end the students worked together to create three different views of Singapore, that they can be proud of.
So thank you to Kyle Jackson, and the students at Joseph Howe Elementary school, (who I am sure by now are in high school) for inspiring us 14,757 kilometres away.