Artist: Naia del Castillo
Class: 5th grade students
Related themes: Identity and coexistence
Mediums: Painting, sculpture, and photography
Teacher: Andoni Bengoa
Tomas Camacho School, Bilbao
Materials: Leaves, paper, scissors, camera, cardboard, plaster, and tempera

How can we connect the individual, the group, nature, and the environment? And how can we link all this to art? These 4th grade students worked with artist Naia del Castillo on a project that integrate one’s own or personal work with that of the group, whilst establishing connections with nature and art in the process. “Listen,” “observe,” “speak,” “act,” and “create” are verbs of action that facilitate learning. This is the core idea of the program: blurring the barriers between curricular disciplines and encouraging a look at the world from a creative and personal point of view. Art becomes an instrument to discover, explore, and comprehend reality. In short, this methodology inspires students to reason and express their thoughts. The experience also prepares them to transfer this critical capacity to other fields of knowledge and their daily lives.

The kids started with observation of what is close: learning to see the tree leaves, their colors, their transparencies, and they gave a new and original use to the leaves they found, creating sentences that spoke of the group, such as “a leaf doesn’t create a forest.” When Naia proposed creating a panel of personal emblems, the school children became explorers, each searching for creative and unique solutions to come up with their own personal hexagonal symbol. Throughout the entire exercise, Naia was responsible for proposing trips to them, whose final destination was unknown. The children managed to reinvent Naia’s proposal, finding unexpected and unique solutions in each process.