So, this is a Project I had lining up for a while already actually! Since the start of my year here, i always wanted to do a sort of creative/artistic Project with the children i would be working with. Oh and the literal translation of „Zerbrochen Gemälde“ should be “ Shattered Painting“. Anyways back to the story of this! After a good while of thinking and brainstorming how i could make a creative program which would incorporate a larger group of students, as well as distribute the work almost equally and actually look good and cool, i came to my final Idea. I came across it while actually thinking about my time in school. My art teacher had the Project and well i just applied with to my situation, changed it a bit and made it quite good i would say. This Page will elaborate on that project, its implementation, its legacy and further points!
The Project revolves around cutting up paintings into roster like shapes and giving each participant a part of the whole painting. Then, the student would then paint that „excerpt“ onto a A4 piece of paper. Once everyone is done, you could stick the individual pieces of each person together and you would end up with a totally unique copy of the original work. With everyone having his own style and way, the painting would be one of a kind but one would still be able to recognize it.
When i first pitched that Idea to Dana, im sure that she liked the thought, but she mentioned that it doesn’t really have anything to do with Germany, or german culture and yada yada. Thats why i got to thinking again and well ended up talking with her about making two of those „shattered paintings“ at my school here. On would be from an Armenian Artist and the other from a German one, of course with the sufficient amount of a bit of theory and an actual little small german lesson included. She agreed to it and told me to send her the whole Project and outline once its done so she can just double-check.
So I got to work. Since I didn’t want to take two just random paintings, I wanted to find something that would have a connection or correlate somehow. Searching a bit around I found a pretty decent idea. I would focus on the theme of „Landscape“ and make both paintings contrast each other in a certain aspect. And soon after googling , digging and some help from Dana, I found a pretty good match.
As Picture number 1. I would use „Mother Armenia“ by Martiros Saryan
And as Picture number two, I would be using “ Frühling am Moor“ by Otto Modersohn.
Now having the two artists and their representative pictures chosen, I could get work on planning the actual theoretical task. For each Artist , I wrote a Page on his personal, artistic biography and some facts about his style. The next page I wrote was a questionnaire sheet not only asking about contents from the text i just mentioned, but also challenging them to talk about their exposures and connections to art for example:
a) If they have a favorite Art style? b) If they do some kind of art themselves? c) If they have a favorite style, artist or artistic work.
That way they could try to express themselves in German a bit and make them think by themselves and not only copy and paste things they would find in the Text. After i had those worksheets finished , I sent of a little project package to Dana so she could check over it.
As usual, I was roasted for my German skills, but it wasn’t as bad as the other times, so we covered that problem fairly quickly.
Next i had to check the schools art inventory to see if we had all the materials ( Paint, paintbrushes, Paper, Covers), and if not, what exactly would be missing because then I would have to buy the missing inventory on my next visit to Yerevan. I got the key to the workshop from Novik ( the art teacher) and was shown the 5/6 boxed of gouache paint. The paintboxes where like “ children sets“ and in a pretty bad condition. I opened the boxes and got out like in total of 30 small plastic flasks of paint. I had to open each one , check if it was rotten, good or just needed some more water. After going through the paint, I realized that we had an excess of weirdly unnecessary colors like neon pink or neon green and lacked basic colors like green, black, white and red. I must say that it was a lost case and I decided to buy a whole new little set in Yerevan. Heres a picture of the art table and the paint inventory list i made while cleaning out the art cupboard. You can see how i ranked the availability of the colors i found:
The list is actually on the table haha but here is the scan as mentioned:
Now so after spending like approximately 50 Euros on …………. when i returned to Yerevan on the weekend, I returned to Chambarack where I could approach the last step of the preparation, finding the actual participants and printing out picture material and copies which I could cut up for the actual project for example. For the copies and prints, I went to the mother of luiza, she owned a little copy shop kind of thing near across the park in the centrum and, well I printed out two full-scale copies of the paintings, as well as two color copies of the split up pictures which the children would use. Luizas mom was nice enough to print them out for me free of charge, but ill pay that back when ill leave xD.
Next , i started asking all the kids i was closer with and writing people on Facebook if they could ask around in their classes of who would be interested in participating in an art project with me after school. So after meeting up with the people I asked , i decided to expand the class range from 7th to 9th too 6th to 9th, because I was having trouble finding enough people. I cut each painting up into 4 x 4 , so I needed 32 participants in total.
After spreading the word and getting back the replies in forms of small strips of papers with names of the interested, and collecting them on one big A4 paper, I had made myself a pretty good overview of who and from where people would come. So since it was really stretching out and I already had all the necessary things ( Materials and Students) I just decided to spontaneously set the date for the next Thursday after school, which I advertised through Putting up extra posters saying “ Heute/Morgen Kunst Projekt“ with little white arrows out of paper highlighting the whole thing and pointing towards it on the turquoise wall. And so , the project day came around. I had planned to set up the whole room, we would be using the smaller aula downstairs since the German classroom was too small to accommodate the way i wanted to set up the tables plus all the children, an hour or so earlier. Not only with the tables, but i would also bring down the papers, paints, brushes, water bottles and the rest. That did partially happen, but also partially not for some reason. So while the kids where piling up and waiting for it to start, I was rushing around, carrying Poster paper, filling up water and commanding helpers like Mamikon, Luisa and Syuzanna to help me so we can get started.So after a bit of delay, we managed to start us off. Now as you know, im not the biggest fan of writing down the actual process and writing down the tiniest little details, so yet again ill do my „Good things and bad things list“ with the occasional comments and more.
So first the bad things :
1. What I immediately noticed when I came into the room and the project started with Novik, was that there where way too little children. From the Projected 32, probably
between 19 and 23 came. Which really fucked up my plans.
2. There was quite a chaos during the actual drawing part. People where stealing brushes from each other, thee was paint being thrown, the usual children’s chaos but still, wack haha.
3. Another very big L for me was that I didn’t manage to really do what was on my itinerary. I had planned to, after finishing the intro and giving out a bit of material, having a small German lesson with the German work packet I made, with a little text and a question sheet regarding not only that text but also trying to challenge the student a bit with their own German knowledge. Sadly that part kinda just, faded away haha. That was sadly quite my fault. While searching for participants, I noticed that not all the good German students where interested so i said that also if you arnt that good in German, that you can participate. Thus a lot of the children’s German skills where good enough to complete or start the Work packet I made. That
was a really big fuck up, because that part of the project was a very core part of the actual project. We still all survived though 😉
Now to the good things:
1. Despite all the chaos, the whole project was really fun! It was really nice seeing how excited and motivated the smaller children where when they layed down the paint. Some of the Children painted really good as well! It was especially cool when a kid was done with his one and he came up to me asking for a new piece of paper to draw a second one. So yeah it was nice, we all drew, music was playing in the background and well, had a good time.
2. Despite what i said in the negatives about the low number of participants, we managed to draw more parts of the paintings that expected. that was partly due to the fact that many of the smaller children enjoyed the first one so much that they immediately drew another one. Plus I had to draw a few and some of the more open and helpful older students of mine, met up with me again on another day and caught up on the missing pieces. So it really felt like a community work“
That was about it haha.
Here are a few photos of during the project which I took :
( It may take some time for some to appear here because the phone which i took them with broke and ill have to see how to get them back.)
The first one shows how Novik, the art teacher, shows the children how exactly to lay down the paint and how to be efficient with the paint.
And heres some of the students working:
So after the last parts of the paintings were painted, I left them on the small stage in the aula to dry overnight. I was a bit worried that the dust or residue from the ceiling would fall and cover the paintings and ruin the cool looks, but when i came back in the first lesson the next morning,those worries were calmed because nothing happened and all the pictures dried perfectly.
I had planned to laminate the single pieces of Art so :
a) It would look dope
b) It wouldn’t get damaged
c) It could get transported easily ( ill come to that later)
but I just wasn’t sure because to laminate , it would cost 200 AMD or 50 cents per page, and well that adds up to about around 20 bucks, which is quite an amount only for laminating. So I asked Dana if it would be fine to try it out, by stating the above written reasons and she said its cool so I did it again, as Luisas mother copy shop.It did take some time, because it first took some time to process each page and occasionally we had to wait for the lamination machine to cool down to it wouldn’t overheat and break. But the wait was worth it! The lamination process made the colours shine and stick out much more and additionally they were protected and easier to handle so it was a total success!
Now the next day i just stuck them onto some bigger pieces of Paper and hung those up on opposite side of the School stairwells, so one picture on each side of the school and it does look pretty dope, here are some pictures of the end product:
and here is just a quick example how the finished project hangs in the stairwell:
Alright, now so what Future does this project have? What do I have planned?
Well after doing some thinking and with plans around the summer holidays being more filed out slowly, I decided to expand this project quite a bit. So in the Summer I plan to basically travel around Georgia, Armenia and maybe even to Azerbaijan with another volunteer from Tbilisi in service of the Goethe Institut to basically have a little project day at each of the stops we will be taking. And well, i decided that my project will be to repeat this project just with country specific artists at their schools. That way I could create a small collection of painting duos as I travel. And taking the idea another level higher, I would maybe organize something like a „traveling gallery“ where the schools would switch the painting duos between each other so that each school would have paintings from other school every few months. Additionally i would maybe make a small work package for school which would receive a Painting duo so that the schools could actually work with the material and not just let it hang around. That would be the best case scenario im aiming for but which will, out of my experience with project, not happen but the hope dies last!
I’ll just have to be careful not to let the Azeris get the Armenian duos and the other way around haha, im pretty sure that they would just burn them xD.
But nevertheless, there will be updates on this page!