Mural de Los Ninos de La Vereda

12 Feb

As many of you know our time in DR will soon be coming to a close.   I really wanted to tackle a large group project with the children before leaving, and I just kept feeling like a mural would be the perfect project.  I love the idea of the children creating something lasting and beautiful in their own community, especially something so public allowing them to share their pride in their work with their families, friends, and neighbors.  Taty was kind enough to grant us permission to paint on the wall outside her Papa’s former home.  The wall is one the children walk past every day, so it was the perfect site!

Here is what it looked like before we started painting:

location for our mural

One of the biggest challenges to getting the project off to the right start was thinking about a theme.  I wanted to find a theme that would capture the children’s imagination, but at the same time it would have to be able to be orchestrated in such a way that it would look beautiful to members of the community.  In addition, the management of the project had to be thought through carefully because my command of the language is still pretty basic there would be some limitations on how much direction I’d be able to provide given that there would be times Renzo wouldn’t be around.  Lastly, the class is composed of children ages 3-12 so there is huge age range, and I definitely wanted to construct a framework for an idea that would be inclusive of many different ages and skill levels.  For awhile I played around with ideas that “sectioned” off a part for each child to work on, but ultimately I knew a design like that would not read as beautifully as something more cohesive and layered.  After lots of going back and forth, Renzo and I finally decided on a “garden” theme.  Many of the items from the children’s paintings of “things they love” could be found in a garden, we’ve been working on a garden, and where the children live there are lots of plants and fruits growing so they would have a lot of prior knowledge to work with.

We don’t have a printer here, so we headed out to the local internet cafe to print some visuals for the lesson.  They only had a b&w printer so we just tried to pick some shots with good shape and constrast.  Then I realized we had plenty of gardening books here with us, so I bookmarked some pages, and we headed out to find a place that would make some color copies for us (in case you were wondering they don’t have kinko’s here!).  It wasn’t so easy to find a place, though our search did bring us to an interesting part of town.  We eventually found a cluttered little shop selling school supplies that were willing to do the copies for us, but they charged us an arm and a leg and the copy quality was pretty poor.  It was color though, so we took what we could get.

Robert finally had a chance to cut the wood that had been sitting around for a sculpture project I had planned about a month ago.  I had moved on, but it seemed like he and Luz were hoping we still wanted to the wood so they could claim that part of their backyard again, so Renzo and I decided to split the group this week, with the older ones helping to start the mural and the little ones staying behind to work on wood sculpture.  We figured we’d work out a schedule so everyone would have a chance to paint at some point. It would be way too crazy having 15 kids painting at the same time anyway so it worked out for the best.

I had the camera with me at the mural site so unfortunately we don’t have pics of the kids’ wood sculptures, but here’s a photo of the table set up before class:

When the group arrived we showed them some images, asked them some questions, and spoke to them about the mural project.  The younger ones got to work with the wood while 3 of the oldest children and I headed a few houses down to the mural site.  The pressure was totally on!  I did my best to talk with the children about the theme, the elements of composition and asked them how theythought we might start.  All in Spanish.  (There was a lot of pointing and saying “como se dice?”)  It was a pretty amazing feeling to be able to communicate with them on my own without Renzo’s help.  Children are so forgiving when it comes to language.  They are really the best language instructors of all.  Gracias ninos!

Today we focused on the background. Here are some photos of the children working:

Diana, Guillermo, & Miguelina painting "La Tierra"

Adding the green for grass & shrubs.

The younger children come by to check out our progress.

Renzo came to help us once the little ones were finished with their wood sculptures.

Painting the sky.

Watching Miguelina paint over the graffitti was pretty satisfying.

Looking good!

Los Artistas

I was there, really-just behind the camera and pouring paint the whole time!

Finished for today!

I am SO excited to see how the children’s mural evolves!  I love the work they’ve done so far- I think this background is going to be a perfect framework for lots of incredible little details like trees, flowers, plants, animals, structures, people, etc.   Their painting today is (and I quote Renzo) “already a big improvement”.  I agree!  It looks like such a pretty splash of color.  I am really proud of the children and I hope they feel proud of their work too.  We will be meeting this week to work more on the mural so there will be more updates coming soon!

xo A

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6 Responses to “Mural de Los Ninos de La Vereda”

  1. JACKIE February 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    waoooo!!! great job!!!! i love it!!! nice and perrrrfect!! annie!! !!!

  2. ANA February 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    waaaooooo what a wonderful i can not wait to see the rest!!!!

  3. Bobbie February 13, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    VERY NICE! what a good looking start, can’t wait to see the finished product. You and Renzo should be very proud of bringing out the artists in all the children!

  4. Anne cavallaro February 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    The wall looks better aleady and its not finished You did a great job with the children and they have a way to remember you
    Love GRam

  5. Courtney February 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    So inspiring!!

  6. Sharon February 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Awesome!!! You guys are great!!! Keep it up!!

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