Nature in Transformation

21 students, 2nd grade, Eretza Berri School, Sodupe

21 students, 2nd grade, Eretza Berri School, Sodupe

Language: Basque
Artist: Zaloa Ipiña
Tutors: Amara San Vicente, Álex Salazar

In this school, the program focused on analyzing and understanding, through art, the changes experienced by nature through the seasons. The students were asked to take an active look at the landscape and make nature art while being surrounded by nature. This creative experience led to a new stance in connection with both the environment and the natural sciences.

First, they were asked to discuss seasonal changes in light. The influence of the sun and how it varies throughout the year was graphically represented with a torch and a globe: with a rotating globe, the torch illuminated different areas of the Earth. Also, the shadows cast by the sun were marked on the walls at different times during the school year—an art project based on the movement of the Earth and the Sun as a source of light.

Why do trees lose their leaves in the fall? Why do leaves change color? Inspired by Land Art, the students had to write the word “AUTUMN” using leaves. Then they took pictures of their installation, wondering how long it would last. In so doing, they discovered ephemeral art: a project made with materials found in nature, which would disappear with time, affected by natural phenomena like the wind.

For their installation project, the children gathered leaves and sorted them according to shape and color, classifying them in different species. Using frottage as a technique (rubbing pencil onto a sheet of paper), they transferred the leaves’ textures. Then they produced blue-colored prints using a photographic technique known as cyanotype.

What is an installation in art? The students learned that artistic installations interact with space to tell a story. This was their winter story: when leaves fall, flowers are absent, many animals hibernate, and birds migrate. When life or nature seem to be on pause, the Earth’s laboratory of life continues to work—even in the rain or under the snow. To tell their symbolic story, the schoolchildren created a huge group installation made of found, painted and glazed branches and leaves.