Artwork Title: Letters To My Present Self 

Name of Artist: Karen Yeh

School: Arts Education Branch
This lesson is suitable for students in: Junior College


Lesson idea/Guiding Question

How can students translate and organise past experiences, and relationships, to communicate their understanding about life?

Key Concerns: 

Time/ Transience/Mortality/ Relationships/ Life/ Reflection/ Curation

This lesson idea with its self-directed inquiry nature is suitable for Junior College students. This lesson idea will likely stretch over 1 term and includes activities to stimulate students’ reflections, sharings, hands-on making and reflections. The idea taps on students’ reflections on differing life experiences as material for further visual investigations into shared worldviews.

Objective/ Instructions:

Students will: 

  • Bring a personal object or image that is linked to their most significant event in life so far 
  • Gather in a circle and share personal stories. Categorise, with teachers’ facilitation and prompts, into groups with similar types of significant stories (Eg. Achievements, Loss, Transitions etc.)
  • Watch Bill Viola’s “Nantes Triptych” (1992) video (approx. 30min), or any other relevant artworks presenting a larger view of the cycle of life, leading interpretive discussion using Terry Barrett’s Interpreting Art Framework (Subject Matter + Medium + Form + Context = Meaning)
  • Get groups to brainstorm and come up with a sketch of statement/metaphor on life through their stories viewed in the larger context of birth, living and death as depicted in “Nantes Triptych” (or any relevant artworks shown)
  • Show and tell of group’s sketches/metaphors
  • Each student to extend or refine their group’s choice metaphors: 

EITHER make first-hand refined observational studies or compositions of sketches/metaphors in any medium, 

OR use the materials of sketches/metaphors to create a relief or three-dimensional object, as a consolidated reflection on their worldview toward life. Document processes in journal

  • Organise a pop-up exhibition showcasing works and process journals curated around similar themes/statements/metaphors (i.e. Works are loosely configured around their orginal groups’ statements)

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