Dispatches: Last Day in Pakistan

Read Rachel’s last post in her series on teaching art workshops in Pakistan here. You can follow her on Twitter @EducatorRachel and also on Instagram.

Today was my last day in Pakistan and what an adventure it’s been! I’ve worked with artists, students, curators, teachers, and museum/gallery professionals from all walks of life and from every corner of Pakistan. Today’s workshop was with art teachers from Islamabad and the surrounding areas. We used the Phillips’s Jacob Lawrence and The Migration Series Teaching Kit to explore different ways to teach art at their school. This group of educators was enthusiastic and eager. Together they brainstormed wonderful lesson ideas. Some teachers talked about using The Migration Series to inspire their students to write poetry, others proposed using it as a way to introduce the idea of beginning/middle/end in storytelling, and there was much discussion about comparing and contrasting Lawrence’s migration story to the stories of those Pakistanis who migrated during partition.

I have had an incredibly rich, warm, and world-view expanding experience here in Pakistan over the last couple of weeks, and I am incredibly grateful to have been sent on this journey! Stay tuned for an article with more details about my adventure in the Phillips’s fall members magazine. In the meantime, I’m signing off from Islamabad.

Art teachers use the kit to brainstorm ideas for using the migration series in their classroom. Photos: Rachel Goldberg.

Art teachers use the kit to brainstorm ideas for using the migration series in their classroom. Photos: Rachel Goldberg.

Teachers consider the universal themes in Lawrence's work and discuss ways to integrate the arts into their lessons. Photos: Rachel Goldberg.

Teachers consider the universal themes in Lawrence’s work and discuss ways to integrate the arts into their lessons.

Rachel Goldberg, Manager of School, Outreach, and Family Programs

Student Art Exhibition Celebrates Gala Philanthropy

Museum educators and preparators collaborate on the installation.

Museum educators and preparators collaborate on the installation. Photos: Meagan Estep

In honor of our annual gala next Friday, the museum is displaying a small selection of our outstanding student artwork on the first floor of the museum (works are located inside the main entrance, to the right and down a small flight of stairs). The gala raises critical resources for the museum’s educational programs, and the results are something to behold.

You will see paintings, relief prints, and mixed-media works from our Art Links to Learning: Museum-in-Residence program for Washington, D.C. public and charter schools. The 22 artworks represent only a fraction of student art produced through the Phillips’s nationwide K–12 education initiatives encouraging arts-integration, weaving together learning in the arts with other subject areas like math, science, or language arts.

The final installation, in one of the first floor galleries.

The final installation, in one of the first floor galleries. Photos: Natalie Mann

In the Education Department, we are excited to see these impressive artistic accomplishments adjacent to work by artists including Giorgio De Chirico, Paolo Ventura, and Bruce Davidson. Feast your eyes on art from our DCPS partner, Tyler Elementary School, relating to a range of curricula including the solar system, with a three-panel series showing the order of the planets in relation to the sun against a continuous background of dark, starry space. Students from the Inspired Teaching School explored the theme “Art of the City,” and responded with abstracted imagery and poems of lonely city parks and neighborhoods in crisis. And make sure to check out work by middle school students from DCPS Takoma Education Campus, highlighting D.C. neighborhoods through beautiful line drawings of local landmarks including The Big Chair in Anacostia and Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street.

On view at the museum from April 22 to May 5, 2013.

Suzanne Wright, Director of Education

Dispatches: Paint Like a Child

Ajani Husbands, an Assistant Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, is working with the Phillips’s Rachel Goldberg as she facilitates workshops. Read Rachel’s last post in her series on teaching art workshops in Pakistan here. You can follow her on Twitter @EducatorRachel and also on Instagram.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” —Pablo Picasso

Image of Mashal Model School students in Islamabad, Pakistan

Students at Mashal Model School in Islamabad, Pakistan.

One may never see such enthusiasm, such vigor for life as is visible in the work of the students from the Mashal Model School in Islamabad, Pakistan. The students at the school are mostly refugees from Afghanistan, internally displaced persons (IDPs) from throughout Pakistan, or simply street children, who have run away from abuse or poverty at home. When children come from such conditions, one expects them to be angry and bitter towards the world. Yet the children of the Mashal Model School exude love and an eagerness to learn.

Students create art in response to Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Students create art in response to Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Watching Rachel Goldberg work with the children was truly remarkable. The students quickly snapped up Jacob Lawrence’s story, asking pointed questions after Rachel’s brief explanation. “Were his parents rich?” “Is he in any of the paintings?” “Why didn’t he paint any faces?”

Phillips Educator Rachel Goldberg conducts a workshop

The Phillips’s Rachel Goldberg in action, conducting a workshop in Islamabad.

For many of these children, The Migration Series is an easy concept to grasp, having emigrated from Afghanistan or the farthest reaches of Pakistan to end up in Islamabad. Their artwork reflected such journeys, with stories as vivid as the ones depicted in Jacob Lawrence’s work.

One student made a collage of his vision for his old school in Afghanistan, a brand new building with several stories and the sun shining overhead. Another created a tree, surrounded by a border with a red snake climbing up the trunk. “His family is trapped inside the tree,” the school’s director explained, “and the snake represents the religious extremists ready to strike against his family should they leave.” The students’ stories spoke volumes, telling lifetimes of experiences on single sheets of paper.

Zeba Husain, founder and director of Mashal Model School, spoke a little bit about the school and the workshop in an impromptu interview. The interview was cut short since a student had to leave early. “He says that he’s done drawing and has to go to work,” she explains. The student, perhaps 12 years old (he himself was unsure of his age) had drawn a colorful train, but was running late for his job selling samosas. Still, he had drawn the train with such purpose that one wondered if he minded being late at all, or would have stayed to draw some more if circumstances permitted.

Picasso and Raphael never experienced the lives lived by the children at Mashal Model School. Perhaps this is why it has taken them lifetimes to learn how to paint with the fervor of these children.

You can find out more about Mashal Model School on its website and Facebook page.

Ajani Husbands, Assistant Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan