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4th-graders interpret artworks and see differing perspectives

“I was kind of surprised by the statue with the horses,” Kira admits, “because I was thinking that it meant that all animals matter on Earth, but it actually was to remind the Scottish people how hard they had worked, so I was kind of surprised by that. It was a happy surprise, though. I would have been sad if it had meant that the horses died or something.” “I thought the statue with the horses stood for hope,” Miya adds. “I think how I think of it makes more sense than how the artist thought.”

You’re letting the students first interpret an artwork and then find out what the artist’s intention was. What is the purpose of that? What are you trying to teach the students, Josephine?
“It’s all about perspective. That the kids learn to use their perspective to interpret what art means. And that there can be many perspectives and many ways to express your perspective. They’ve created their own messages and at the end of the week, they have to create an artwork based on that message. I am trying to take them through the whole kind of learning: modelling, interpreting, creating.”

Can you give us an example of such a message?
“Here’s one,” says Josephine, picking out one of the messages laid out on the floor and reading it aloud. “‘People should be treated fairly, not based on their skin color.’”

Aww. That’s nice!
“Yes. They’re great kids.”