Landscapes! And is there a better place to start than with our city itself?
In Week Two, Culture Club created landscapes featuring Birmingham architecture. Last week, members focused instead on famous artists.
We began last week’s session by learning about two Birmingham artists: first was Santhanha Nguyen, whose depiction of the Birmingham Wholesale Markets in 13 (image 1) kept the members guessing about where the landscape was and what landmarks they could make out. We also looked at Hurvin Anderson’s Untitled (Red Flags) (image 2), a beach landscape that conveys his pride and admiration for his Jamaican heritage. The members tried guessing the location of the beach, initially seeing a resemblance to France and Dover, but once they saw the foliage and cliffs in the background, the Club agreed it was in Jamaica.
The Club then recreated these two landscapes, along with Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night and Frans Coetzee’s African Landscape. Engaging with the art this week enabled the children to ask questions, fueling their interest in different styles of painting: how big is 13? How long did it take to paint? What type of paint did Hurvin use? Someone said: ‘That looks like a skeleton at the back of African Landscape!’
These questions had the Club’s members hungry for more learning about art and artists. One member asked if it was possible to have a guest artist attend a session so they could learn more techniques used for blending paint and colours. Our own lead artist Sarah provided tips on how to blend and what materials to use, a reminder that we’re not just teachers guiding them through Culture Club but artists ourselves in our own mediums.
So all together, we had an engaging week that permitted the children to learn more about artists that live in their city and who convey their heritage with their artwork (Santhanha Nguyen and Hurvin Anderson), as well as with landscapes of the past (Starry Night from 1889) and present (African Landscape from 2021!).