A year 6 Visual Art class has been drawing figurines to be reproduced and developed upon by artists working with the Anouk Foundation to brighten up hospital walls.
For many years now, the Anouk Foundation has been trying to encourage people’s recovery in hospitals. They work with artists to add colour to the often plain, white walls - after all, white can be quite depressing if there’s nothing else to look at for days on end. Their goal is to make the patients feel more at home, happier, to simulate the environment outside that they surely miss.
This year, a Year 6 Visual Art class here at Nations is working with the Foundation, sketching designs for the artists to develop upon in their paintings. The project is part of their unit on Art and Peace, wherein they had the choice between a number of charities that use Art to inspire people and to try and make the world a better place. The majority in this particular class were touched by Anouk’s message.
When I spoke to the students in the class, they explained to me that they were drawing “happy” images “because it might make other kids who are in hospitals feel good”. Most agreed that when closed up for a long time in one room, it was important to have colour on the walls.
The interesting part was that not everyone had the same standards for what they thought would make other people happy. Some (despite the Foundation’s advice to make the images timeless) drew characters from their favourite video games, some wrote messages in as many languages as they could think of (the product, perhaps, of being schooled in an international environment) while some drew anything that could be considered “cute”: a dog, a rainbow, clouds, even a whale.
It is touching to think that the children actually in the hospitals will get to see art on their walls that was inspired by kids their age. Really though, it looks like what they have learned from this experience - apart from the benefits of perseverance and doing good deeds - is that happiness expresses itself in different ways in different cultures. Some smile because they see their favourite food, some because they see a happy family.