January 09, 2021
Amid the Covid19 pandemic, school groups aren’t able to visit art galleries. But works of art can go to schools. This is the idea behind the project "An artwork in the classroom" launched by Itzal aktiboa.
During November / December 2020, the pupils of Oztibarreko ikastola in Larceveau were able to enjoy the presence at their school of a painting by Gonzalo Etxebarria, an artist based in the Basque province of Xiberoa.
In January, this painting – whose title “Babakak” means “sheep’s droppings” in Basque, moved to Garaziko ikastola in St Jean Pied de Port, while a painting by Zoe Bray, who was born in France and lives in the United States, has taken its place for a month in Larceveau.
The idea is simple. During the paintings' stay at school, the children have time to get to know it and to understand the artist's approach. They also get the opportunity to experiment with artistic creation themselves.
Gonzalo Etxebarria's painting imposed itself as a presence in the classroom, the school’s principal, Mirentxu Lako, relates. “The children responded by creating their own artworks in a very natural way and with great enthusiasm.”
In the video, her colleague Martta Lako, who looks after the smallest children in the school, describes the interaction between the children and the painting:
In class, they focused on two characters: the imaginary one of Itzal aktiboa and the real person of the artist Gonzalo Etxebarria - Who is he?... Where does he live?... They even created a little rhyme about him.
Then, they were asked to say what the painting reminded them of. The answers were very diverse: a wolf, a flat stone, bird droppings...
Next, it was time to get to work with charcoal and pencil. In a second stage, when the sun came out, the painting was installed outside in the garden.
"It was wonderful! The tones and contrasts were much clearer. In the open air, the children reworked their drawings with the colours that the artist had used to paint his picture."
In a final stage, the children were asked to produce their own painting, inspired by Gonzalo Etxebarria’s work but this time using four colours of their own choice.