Holiday camp for artists at National Gallery

At the Gallery
It is that time of the year again when kids get to explore, create, develop new skills, appreciate new ideas, make new friends, and have fun at the Gallery. The National Gallery of Zimbabwe will be hosting the exciting August Holiday Art Camp from August 20-24.

The National Gallery Holiday Art Camp, held thrice every year with support from art supplies company, La Rue, aims to facilitate a platform where children learn new visual art techniques and media, to respond to art and to make connections from their world to the art- works.

Running under the theme, “Futurist Fun: Women’s Roles in Society”, this August’s holiday art camp will focus on stimulating children to capture the new technology of their own generation while exploring how it has changed their lived experiences.

The theme “Futuristic Fun” comes from Futurism which is usually associated with the 1909 Italian artistic and social movement. The movement emphasised and glorified, among other things, speed, modernity and technological advancements in the early 20th century.

While Futurists were capturing the motion of the figure itself, this art camp will challenge students and see how they deal with the idea of capturing the movement of information that happens all around us.

The theme also draws heavily form Afrofuturism, a philosophy of science, history and cultural aesthetic that explores the developing intersection of African and African Diaspora culture with technology. Coined by Mark Dery in 1994, the concept draws from elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and Afrocentrism in order to critique the present-day dilemmas of black people and to interrogate and re-examine historical events.

The art camp will be broken into at least four smaller lessons so that students learn the same material through different modalities, as differentiated instruction is extremely important. The content of the art camp is designed to appeal to the learners and has over the years evolved to meet the interests and needs of the participants.

Some of the activities that will be held during the holiday art camp include; for pre-school children, touring of running exhibitions, drawing of people in motion using pencils and crayons, colour mixing, and for primary school kids, touring exhibitions and decorating masks with contour drawings while drawing inspiration from masks in the Gallery sales shop.

High school children will engage in activities including; the introduction to the running exhibitions for them to draw inspiration from, creating collages using family and friends’ photos, colour drawing and painting and exploring line, shape, colour, texture, pattern and composition.

Those who are going to be sitting for their O Level and A Level art examinations will get a chance to be coached on how to approach actual examination question papers such as still life, design and human figure by professional artist.

Divided into age segmented classes, pre-school and primary school pupils have a schedule that commences at 9am to 1pm while high school pupils’ schedule begins at 9am and ends at 3pm.

The holiday art camp programme also ties into running exhibitions at the Gallery and this year’s activities will mainly draw inspiration from the eQualities of Women Exhibition, which comprehensively builds a timeline of the various contributions that women have made on local and international platforms.

The exhibition is geared to offer women a platform for expression, with informative elements that guide the audience through the developments that women have contributed towards and the obstacles that they have overcome.

This August’s holiday art camp will thus offer children an opportunity to simultaneously learn about the various and significant roles that women play in different sectors in society and to recreate and interrogate these roles through art and technology.

The holiday art camp is generally designed to have creative and practising instructors and semi-structured learning experiences which aim to maximise each child’s creativity.

Each student is seen as an individual with a unique voice, and is taught to create fearlessly. Most importantly, the art camp fosters a relaxed and non-competitive environment that enables everyone to express themselves while having has lots of fun.

The camp creates a space in which young people can gain knowledge of visual art and develop their visual creative abilities. It allows them to express themselves in numerous ways giving them self-confidence inasmuch as it empowers them to attain an interest to pursue art professionally.

The Holiday Art Camp also enables children to interact with various children from different families. By interacting and working with a different peer group, children also learn an appreciation of different perspectives.

They observe how other kids create different kinds of artworks based on the same instructions. This helps them to be open to different interpretations, and ideas and that being different does not make one wrong. As every other edition of the Holiday Art Camp, the five-day experience will conclude with an exhibition of the learner’s artworks.

A graduation ceremony will also takes place on the last day of the camp, where the participants will receive certificates and prizes for the best works.

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