Dabbling in Surrealism

Grade 5:  Learning Surrealism, Constructing Pictures

Session 1

I came to the class with an example of a picture I had created using magazine cutouts in the style drawing from an art and cultural movement known as Surrealism, that began in the 1920’s.  I introduced them to the basic principles and expressions of the movement; that of dream imagery, startling elements put together, and tapping into the unconscious.  Then it was to the computer lab, where they could look at various images of Surrealism, featuring the works of Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali.  They loved it!  So cool.

Now it was time to get back to the Art Room, and the big stack of magazines piled in the middle of the table.  Their first task was to find a picture that would constitute the background, and fill the assigned piece of boxboard given for glueing on. (Actually,  I wasn’t proactive on this part until I realized that just getting them to cut out different pictures would result in more of a collage than a picture).  Once the background was in place, I encouraged them to assemble a collection of images, roughly cut, to place in an envelope until the next session.

Session 2

Carrying on to completion, the students continued to collect images, but it was also time to begin choosing those they want to use to create their picture – putting strange elements together to build a story – or just surprise us!

They had some fun with this; even the teacher got involved and made her own.  It was interesting to watch those who were quite willing to ‘get weird’ with their pictures, how that spurred others on, and yet how for some that weirdness was more difficult.  The fun continued when it came time to label their creations.  A title and an artist name:  we decided to add a famous artist’s name to each student’s own.  They helped make the choices.  Great stuff!

The verdict from my son on this one:  “it was one of the best projects we did all year, Mom” – even though he didn’t think he did the best with his that he could have.  Maybe he will get another chance …

Spring 2012 / Parliament Oak School


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