Traces of the Past and the Future

16 students, 1st to 6th grade, La Arboleda School, Trápaga

16 students, 1st to 6th grade, La Arboleda School, Trápaga

Language: Basque
Artist: Ibon Garagarza
Teachers: Beatriz Berzosa, Leyre Alonso, Nerea Arego

This year, Learning Through Art focused on the marks left by the past in a community and a territory. When at first we asked the students to talk about their school and their village, we could feel their pride in belonging to this place. La Arboleda is a region with a deeply-rooted and ever-present mining past. The idea, however, was to draw attention to the future as well by focusing on the school and the children themselves.

First of all, the students were asked to draw their school and its environs: the classrooms, the hallways, the schoolyard, the football pitch, the trees surrounding the building, the views from the window… With this task they learned to take a close, critical, and creative look at things. Then, they had to paint scenes of their picturesque village using a variety of mediums, from gouache or watercolor to spray and stencil. Their simplified versions of the landscape brought them close to abstraction.

The next step was to make a large-scale painting of the reservoirs that formed when the mine galleries were flooded. The painting was then used as an immersive setting for photo shooting, pretty much in the style of Romantic landscapes and the idyllic frame they made for human figures. At all times, we stressed the children’s sense of belonging and pride in their hometown.

After the photo shoot, the students were asked to draw their outlines to make portraits using flat colors. The portraits were then shown in various parts of town to invite local residents to the school. Finally, the entrance steps were covered with a tile mosaic showing the images the children said they wanted to see every day. In order to transform things like cars or rays into square shapes, they had to get familiar with geometric abstraction. This year, with LTA, the students from La Arboleda left their mark in town.