AN ECOSYSTEM IN CLASS
24 5th-grade students at Judimendi school, Vitoria-Gasteiz
Teacher: Jon Etxebeste
Artist: Iñaki Gracenea
This project began with the study of ecosystems and the great variety of life forms on Earth. Through painting and collage, we looked for visual ways to represent a variety of habitats and the organisms that live in them. Both urban and natural landscapes were represented in large collective murals that moved between figuration and abstraction. In the artistic recreation of the environment and its inhabitants, colors were mixed, geometric and organic shapes were used, as well as pixelated drawings and geometric blocks.
The class itself is a miniature ecosystem, a diverse community that shares a physical space where different individuals interact. It allowed them to analyze the relationships between the different components and to ask questions about living together from a different perspective. We learn to look at ourselves and others, to see what we are like, how we participate in the group and the importance of our actions within it.
The group’s teacher Jon Etxebeste summarized the experience as follows: “This year, in Learning Through Art, we worked first on the subject of ecosystems in a general manner, and then focused on our classroom as our own, special, and unique ecosystem. In so doing, we looked at the importance and the value of our relationships, and the roles we play in our small but not insignificant ecosystem: the class. A novelty for the students was to work hands-on in a way that awoke everyone’s curiosity. They did their best, had fun, but above all what stands out to me is how each person contributed equally through their work, regardless of their individual academic level.”
Two students from Judimendi speak about their experience:
“This year we did a workshop with the Guggenheim Bilbao. We learned a lot about painting and drawing, which I love; and I also stained my clothes a lot. The experience with the Guggenheim Bilbao was great.”
“This year we worked on ecosystems. We painted with our hands, with rollers, brushes, and paintbrushes. We also worked with collage, templates, pixels, and we used newspapers, photos, advertisements, plastic, wood, and strips of paper. I’d like to do this activity 10,000 times.”