‘Overcoming the fear of drawing’, ‘teaching us to see in different ways’, ‘correcting and correcting to make it better’, ‘a lot of ideas and plenty of resources’, ‘a framework of contextualized art references’, ‘I had a wonderful time’: these are some of the responses we were given by the teachers at the Pere Vila primary school when we talked over the joint training sessions with the Education Service at the Museu Picasso.
Pere Vila primary school. Photo: Kisa
At a session at the same school last year the teachers made us aware of the need to give a boost to art education in school, and it was clear that the best way to do this was through joint training, giving us a fuller understanding of the resources available for visual expression as a basis for designing activities with the pupils.
In conjunction with the Department of Innovation of the Consorci, we felt it would be interesting to ask the Museu Picasso’s Education Service, which is committed to working closely with the schools in our area, to give a presentation of the key ideas, the aims, the processes and the capacities involved in the educational proposals available to school groups visiting the museum, in order to help us move forward in this reflection that we realized we needed to engage in.
Every December, as a New Year’s greeting, the girls and boys at the school make a calendar for their parents, with self-portraits of all everyone in the class. We asked the Education Service to help us look with ‘artist’s eyes’ at Picasso’s portraits and self-portraits as a way of encouraging the children to give expression to their self-portraits, which are, in essence, a way to learning to know themselves.
We had four sessions at the school, starting by situating the portrait in its artistic and social context through history and going on to run three workshops with members of the museum’s Education Service, educators from Àgora and teachers from the Illa art school. The sessions provided a framework and facilitated the experimental work of making portraits using different techniques while, most importantly, bringing out the importance of looking at ourselves and our feelings and recognizing one another: all of us, including the Pere Vila teachers, ‘looked at each other’.
Workshops with members of the museum’s Education Service
Late December, we collected as usual the self-portraits the children had made for the calendar. What first struck us was that the noses, mouths and eyes were richer and more diverse and — most interesting! — a lot of the children had drawn themselves wearing glasses. We can say, then, that we have started to do portraits ‘with a nose, a mouth and two eyes’ — and glasses!
Head teacher, Pere Vila primary school