Our CM Artist Grace is a trustee of Dominion Schools Africa – a charity that provides financial support to a Kenyan school and helps to assist the school in providing high-quality education. In November, she went out to Gachie, in Nairobi to visit the school. The school year runs from January – November, so she arrived just as they were preparing for their end of year graduation which celebrates the 6-7 year old’s moving up to the junior school.
Grace saw this as a perfect opportunity for the children to get creative in preparation for graduation day. There is very little creative work in their school curriculum, and the school didn’t have many artistic resources. Grace had taken over some paint brushes and the school had pots of powder paint. That morning, Grace went shopping with the school’s head teacher and purchased some sturdy material to paint on. They decided to make some wall hangings on the theme of the biblical creation story.
Children from the school dropped in and out throughout the day and absolutely loved getting involved! Many had never had the opportunity to paint on such a large scale before. They even made some of their own paint using local earth mixed with water. The teachers were absolutely blown away by their efforts and thrilled to see how enthusiastic the children were.
Grace wanted every child in the school to have a go at creating their own self-portrait to hang up on graduation day. They experimented with mixed media and used paint, crayons and collage to create their own personal portrait. All were thrilled with the results!
The school is generally very structured with little opportunity for creative expression. At the end of the session, Grace allowed the children to have free reign to explore ways of using the artistic materials, and create whatever they wanted to. They all went wild and loved the freedom of the activity, saying how much fun they were having.
The school had never displayed artwork on the walls before, but the teachers loved the difference it made to the building. The teachers were thrilled to see how happy the children were during the art session, and chatted to Grace to discuss ways in which art could be brought into other subjects such as history and geography.
The children were so proud of their work at the end of the day, and were delighted to see it hung up on display. Before she left, one little boy came to Grace and said he’d had the “happiest day ever”!