Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Me, Myself and I Transformed

I concluded my 12 week art program with teen girls at a detention facility this week, facilitated by the arts organization Class Acts Arts, in Silver Spring, Maryland, which places professional artists from all over the world in correctional facilities to teach. During the duration of the program we created several artists books, made origami, created pop up cards, experimented with tie dye, marbelized paper and wrote poetry and stories. Most of the projects were introspective in that I wanted them to exam their lives and choices. One entitled "My Natural Disaster" challenged them to look at the Tsunami in Indonesia and imagine what it would have been like, stranded on a make shift raft for 8 days.

I wanted our last project to be on a larger scale, so the last two weeks we created a painted mural on tyvek, which was originally titled, "Me, Myself and I". Later the girls changed the name to "We Are All in This Together." I projected their silhouettes on the tyvek and had them trace the outlines. I was struck by the fact that few of the figures had arms. One teen pointedly told me, "Arms... I don't have arms. I'm locked up".