Stairway to Heaven

Author: Jen Boland, Learning Manager
Last week, we had visitors from the Kapiti Coast. Four classes, whanau and staff from Kenakena School came for an art appreciation day and ended up testing their comfort zones.

An element of surprise was the goal as blindfolded students walked through the galleries to sit in front of Ben Buchanan’s painting that wraps around the walls and spills colour onto the floor. 

Once everyone was settled into place, blindfolds were removed.  Eyes popped as the children were face to face with Forever. “What is it?”, they asked each other, “Could it be a dragon’s eye, a cyclops or maybe a stairway to heaven?”

Their excitement was contagious and there was much pointing and gasping as we moved through Solo past Cat Auburn’s Training Aids, a flock of 20 enchanting fawn, and upstairs to our children’s show Can You See What I See?

In Can You See? we spent time with the artworks, getting to know them like new friends by using three magical questions: ‘What do I see?’; ‘What do I think?’; and ‘What do I wonder?’. Side by side, students and whanau looked closely at artworks, finding hidden images and making up stories about an island just for the birds and a rabbit with a sock on its ear. 

Sitting beneath Grand Piano (1950), a cubist painting by Melvin Day, we shared a fantastic picture book called Picasso’s Trousers by Nicholas Allen. Feeling fully inspired, the students went on to make their own cubist works in the Creative Workshop. Again, students stretched their comfort zones as cutting their drawings into pieces was a part of the process. The finished works were bold and beautiful. Here’s a painting by Georgia

Thanks to all of the students for visiting and being so trusting, creative, curious and brave. A special thanks to the whanau too, with out your assistance with the journey the day would not have happened!

Jen Boland, Learning Programmes Manager


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