This lesson is suitable for students in: Lower Secondary

Artwork title: Creativity 101

Name of artist: Liao Ziyan


Toys/ found objects/self and identity/ environmental issue/ social issue/ ekphrastic poetry

In this lesson idea, students could be asked to select a toy of their own as the starting point of their art-making process. They will then brainstorm and develop a self-portrait assemblage with other found objects.

Lesson Sequence

Introductory Activity

Students will:

  • Bring in toys that represent who they are. In groups of 3-4, students to share about the toy that they brought to class: how the toy is meaningful/special to them and how it represents them.
  • ‘Make the familiar unfamiliar’ and attempt to see the familiar toy in a new perspective. In their groups, students are to brainstorm a list of at least 10 creative questions about their toys.
  • What new ideas/questions did you have about the toy that you did not have before?
    Why …?
    What are the reasons…?
    What if…?
    What is the purpose of…?
    How could it be different if…?
    What if we knew …?
    What would change if …?
    (adapted from SG50 Designed in Singapore Toys from the Future)


Art Discussion

  • Discuss artworks using the guiding questions and/or thinking routines from “Let’s Talk About Art” kit.
    Creativity 101 (2014)
    by Liao Ziyan
    The Decline of the Western Civilisation (2010)
    by Gerald Leow

Guiding Questions for Art Discussion

  • What are the objects used in this artwork?
  • Where do you usually see these objects?
  • Why do you think the artist has chosen these objects?
  • What do you think are the symbolic meanings of these objects?
  • What do you think this artwork is about?
  • What questions do you have about this artwork?
  • If you can give this artwork a title, what would it be?



Students are to:

  • Create an assemblage to represent oneself metaphorically, using found objects meaningfully and symbolically.
  • Document their research, ideation, experimentation and exploration in a sketchbook.
  • Share at peer/group critique session at various intervals during the art-making process. Students to discuss the motivation behind the choice of objects, and the personal meanings attached to them. Peers to provide feedback.
  • [extension] Photograph the assemblage in a studio setting for documentation purpose.
  • Physically/digitally display the assemblage in the school gallery/art room/shared blog.
  • Write an ekphrastic poem for any chosen artwork on display.





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