March 9

Kehinde Wiley – A New Republic painting series

Thank you to Ms. Dunn for bringing a fresh look at museum portraiture.

Kehinde Wiley is a world renowned contemporary black artist.  Common to his work is the influence of art historical portraits, highly rendered forms and organic patterned backgrounds.  In his series, A New Republic, Wiley street casts models for the subjects of his paintings.  Central to his work is elevating the image of people of color to belong in institutions alongside historically white portraiture, thus “transforming the way we as a culture view the black body in public spaces.”

A documentary about this creation of this series is available on Amazon Prime.

March 1

The Butterfly Project Comes to North

Over this past week the CHSN Art Department has immersed itself in participating with a global Holocaust remembrance project, The Butterfly Project. 

The goal of the Butterfly project is to commemorate the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust.

We began the week with a viewing of “Paper Clips.”  This documentary tells the story of a Holocaust Memorial Project started in a middle school in Tennessee.  While watching this video, students really gained a sense of the power of their voices and actions.  Given the current climate, this message truly resonated with the students.

Next, with the help of bio cards provided by the Butterfly Project organization, we made personal connections with the children that were killed during the Holocaust.  We also discussed the Righteous of Nations and the risks non-Jews faced in efforts to help the persecuted.

On February 28th, we kicked off the project with a presentation by Holocaust Survivor, Sonia Goldstein.  Over 700 students listened intently as Sonia told her personal experiences in ghettos, Stutthof Concentration Camp, death marches and refugee camps.  Sonia was taken to the concentration camp when she was 16, the age of most of the students in the audience.  Sonia is now 93 years young, and we all valued the importance of hearing these personal accounts so that the stories may live on through us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On March 1st, all art students returned to class, inspired to start creating butterflies.  Today alone we create 860 of our total 1000 butterfly goal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lessons learned this week about the Holocaust, the victims, the survivors and the Righteous of Nations have been unforgettable!

The project has brought our school together in a time where tolerance and diversity are qualities we continue to foster.

February 26

The Butterfly Project Comes to North

Last year, the Art Department piloted a holocaust remembrance project called the Butterfly Project. The basis of this international project is Holocaust education, combined with the creation of ceramic butterflies in remembrance of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust.  During this pilot, 25 butterflies were made.

This week the CHSN Art Department begins it’s participation in the global Butterfly Project.

On Wednesday, February 28, we will listen to Holocaust Survivor, Sonia Goldstein, tell her experience during the Holocaust.  This speaker will be the preliminary inspiration for those planning to help glaze clay butterflies.    The speaker will be presenting in the auditorium and the Art Department will be bringing approximately 500 students.
The butterflies:
It is our goal to create 1000 clay butterflies that will be permanently installed on the exterior brick wall of the Guidance Department facing picnic tables.
On March 1-2, the Art Department will be creating glaze designs on clay butterflies (we will pre-make butterflies prior to this event). While students are working on these creations, we will have available brief bios  (provided by the butterfly project) of children that died during the Holocaust so that students have another opportunity to connect with the meaning behind the project.
On March 1, afterschool, we will hold a workshop for any students not in art classes, to create a butterfly.
Late April/May project installation and unveiling event coupled with a screening of the documentary, Not the Last Butterfly
February 9

IB Art year 2 Student Basil Bennett- Levy reflects on gender transitions and identity as their concentration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I started thinking about my concentration, I wanted to explore the concept of transition.  The transitions between genders that transgender young people experience are thought of as ugly and something that should not be seen.

Often, transgender celebrities will go into a period of hiding after they announce their new identity while they undergo whatever medical changes they need to look how they want, and then reenter society looking completely different. This process keeps the transitional period out of the public eye, and makes people with ambiguous gender presentation seem unnatural. I believe that this is not the best was to handle transgender people in the public eye, since it makes encounters between cisgender and transgender people more uncomfortable and prevents understanding. I decided to paint transgender young people to try to document this stage in their lives, and my show is a celebration of these in-between people.

I decided to ask people to send me pictures they took of themselves for me to paint. I asked them to choose a picture that they felt confident in, and to explain all the reasons why they felt confident in that picture. In addition, I asked everyone for a list of the ways they identify themselves. I found their answers surprising, because people interpreted the prompt differently.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My goal for this list was to help humanize the people in my paintings, so that my audience could get to know them better and imagine them as complex people rather than just strangers.

To further emphasize this spectrum (and transition) concept, I decided to arrange the pieces (in my exhibit) on a scale from feminine expression to masculine expression.

 

 

 

February 5

“Catch These Hands” AP Language Project – by Teena Thomas

Inspired by Angelica Dass, creator of Humanae, and in hope to spread togetherness and promote acceptance of diversity at Clarkstown High School North, I took on this photographic human hand mosaic.
The motivation to start such a project originated from Ms. Phalen’s AP Language class during our “Race & Otherness” unit as we explored & presented various texts found on social media, etc. in order to construct our own claims on the issues.

-my claim-

Color is a concept so familiar, simple & pure. We, as humans, believe we KNOW what color is and means. We hold STRONG OPINIONS and preconceived notions about color.
With “color”, there is no difference of which is better than the other; they are simply just colors. But when it comes to “skin color”, there is unfortunately a whole level of labeling, a sense of prejudice of one race/group over another.
But by reframing or redefining the term “color”, we can make the comfortable, uncomfortable.Through the use of defamiliarization, or the “the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar”, we can deconstruct this mentality of superiority. We can take color apart, and reconstruct the wheel with a new perspective, a new thought.

I chose hands because hands hold a second level, deeper meaning, symbolizing unity in itself. “The holding of hands” per say is unifying, accepting. So by using hands as a marker for each individual makes sense.

Along with the hands, I decided to have the caption be a word of identification, not a PANTONE color name. So each person along with a photograph chose a word they felt they identified as, i.e., musician, athlete, cheery, etc.

Artistic Process:
There were several moments I wasn’t quite sure what to do. So much ambition and excitement to tackle a project for a girl who had little to no experience on photoshop and also did not think through the details at the start. I just jumped right in! And it’s funny because I usually don’t do that; I like to plan out meticulously for anything I do to. It was a change in approach but it was well worth it.

During an Art Honors Meeting, with your help, I was able to collect the names of kids who were interested in participating.
With just a stool, a white sheet of paper, and my iPhone camera, I shot 67 hands of students & staff over the course of two days after school.
That weekend I began editing. 7 straight hours in my room without a break I cranked at it on Saturday. Then Sunday morning back at it, I spent the rest of my day editing until I got through 45 hands, all set & ready to go.
My editing consisted of taking a pixel of color from the center of the middle knuckle (as opposed to the center of the nose as Dass had done) and filling the background. I then selected a font, font size, and rectangular box height & width for the font to go on. Attached is a time lapse video of an example, Mr. Covert as “leader”.

 

I want to thank you, Mrs. Diamond for providing support and the resources to get my ideas a reality and Denise, the woman at the main office who out of genuine interest persuaded almost 30 students to stop & be a part of my project. Again thank you! This turned out so much more than I ever imagined. 🙂

 

January 19

Dream Unfinished

Thanks to our band teacher for sharing this great resource! Mr. Andert has been working on integrating diversity into band program. Through his training and work with “The Dream Unfinished,” he is working to present more music from diverse composers in the music classroom.

AN ACTIVIST ORCHESTRA

The Dream Unfinished is an activist orchestra which supports NYC-based civil rights and community organizations through concerts and presentations.

MISSION

To use classical music as a platform to engage audiences with issues related to social and racial justice. Since its founding in 2014, TDU has staged over a dozen performances throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and partnered with organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Black Women’s Blueprint, Justice League NYC, African American Policy Forum, and others. In 2015, The Dream Unfinished’s inaugural season honored the one year of Eric Garner’s passing. Its 2016 season, entitled Sing Her Name, culminated on the one-year anniversary of Sandra Bland’s passing. Future seasons of The Dream Unfinished will focus on the school to prison pipeline, solitary confinement, and gentrification.

January 19

Name That Color….

Thank you Mrs. Rickli for sharing this resource approaching discussions of skin color using descriptive words (much the way we would describe the color of the sky or grass), as opposed to jus racial constructs.

Article excerpt:

“With very young children we often point out the colors of buses, fire trucks and grass, as we teach them about the world. We’re naming all these things, but we’re not talking about people’s colors. In some ways, it’s really odd that there’s this whole description that we’re not addressing. It teaches kids that race is not okay to talk about. When parents are silent, children make up their own stories as to why.”

For a link to the full article, click here.

Some places where I could imagine quick references in our classes:

We are often “identifying” in our content areas, whether specific names for tubes of acrylic paint, or symbols on a periodic table.  Perhaps when identifying topics come up, and he have discussions of symbolic vs. representational, we can weave the conversation of actual skin color vs. racially defined colors into our conversations.

November 24

Revisiting our countries’ Thanksgiving narrative….

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While Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for so many, the irony of the violence at Standing Rock, that has been on going for the past several months, and has been particularly atrocious this week, can not be overlooked.

There are so many levels or social injustice encompassed in this situation.

As you investigate class struggle, consider the similarities between the water crisis in flint and the one the building/rerouting of the  Dakota access pipeline presents.

As you investigate environmental racism, consider the issues to rerouting of the pipeline presents in terms of treaties broken, religious rites being compromised and sacred sites being destroyed.

As you investigate the demoralizing and inhuman treatment of the protestors/protectors, revisit the  recent standoff of the Malhuer NAtional Wildlife Refuge.

 

 

From class struggles and racial bias, to environmental issues and religious freedom…

This urgent crisis among the peaceful water protectors needs more awareness, support and action.

 

 

http://www.wnyc.org/story/tensions-rise-over-violence-standing-rock/