Artwork Title: Live The Question

Name of Artist: Chun Wee San

School: Singapore Teachers’ Academy for the Arts

This lesson is suitable for students in: Secondary 3 Express

Possible Guiding Questions for Discussing Art

Possible Lesson Ideas for Making Art
  1. Look at the artwork in silence. What are the three words that come to your mind when you see the artwork? Write a word on each Post-it note. In your small groups, combine the words of all members, and arrange them to form a poetic response to the artwork. Read the poem in a tone of voice that expresses the mood of the work.
  1. Let’s examine the words that you have written. Why did you choose those words? What did you observe in the artwork that led to your choice of words? Why did your group read the poem with this tone, what thoughts and feelings did you want to convey?
  1. Share with us your observation about the size and arrangement of the images. How do these attributes of the artwork make you feel? Why might you be feeling this way?
  1. Now focus on one of the images. How might you feel if you were to walk into the image? What might you hear?
  1. This artwork draws inspiration from a paragraph in Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Read this paragraph with an expressive voice, inspired the artwork. Compare the earlier rendition of your poem with this version. What are the similarities and differences?
  1. Share with us your thoughts about Rainer Maria Rilke’s writing. If you were the artist, how would you represent the writing visually?
In this lesson idea, students could be asked to think about how the printed words (in the form of poem, prose, single words, phrases, paragraphs, stories etc) could inspire an artistic response.

To deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of how the meaning of text could be conveyed through visuals, students could look at: artworks influenced by poems, e.g. David Hockney’s Myself and my Heroes; artworks that have inspired ‘ekphrasis’ poems (poems based on works of art, e.g. poems by William Carlos William); illustration books with simple text, e.g. semiotic children’s book by Umberto Eco, Matt Kish’s illustrated book of Moby Dick, most children’s story books; art that referenced literature, children’s stories etc.

Possible elegant art tasks could be:

  1. Take a series of photographs to illustrate/represent a poem that moves you.
  2. Create a painting or illustration inspired by your favourite childhood story.
  3. Identify a memorable paragraph from a book/writing you like, represent its essence using collage.
  4. Choose a word that communicates your thoughts on an issue that matters to you. Represent this word visually. (E.g. the issue is ‘Climate Change’, the word could be ‘Urgency’, students explore how this word could be conveyed visually, in the context of ‘Climate Change’, ‘Environmentalism’. 

Students could also form a poem collectively (each student to contribute a word, arrange the words to form a poem) and illustrate the feelings and moods that this poem conveys using collage, abstract painting etc.

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