Week 3 – St Mark’s Artist Residency

In week 3, I really started to identify with the themes the classes are working with. Expressing ourselves through art, telling the stories of where we have come from, and talking about our feelings and values.

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I’m working with the fantastic art teacher, Markelle Archer, and today she told me about a child drawing, smoothing the pastel into the page with both hands in concentric circles. What feeling are you drawing, she asked? Calm, he replied.

What can we know through our bodies, our senses? When we slow down, listen, touch and feel things out… we have been curious, putting together what we have seen, with what we can feel.

We asked a couple of classes to find out their migration stories. Many of them have come from other countries and places. How and why did they come to Aotearoa, New Zealand? I found myself telling some children about my own ancestors; they came on boats, for gold, they fell out over a fur coat, one walked from Sydney to Melbourne with all his possessions in a wheelbarrow to find the woman he loved. Dramatic, passionate, expressive stories.

And how our small stories are part of the big stories. We talked about visas, war, what it would be like to have to take only what you can carry. Drawings of children carrying pianos. Drawing of children as pirates, in mummy’s tummy, in places where people stand closer together than here.

Today is Tuesday and I am starting the drawing that St Mark’s has commissioned as part of the residency. I am thinking about gold, wheelbarrows, greed, passion, adventure, risk, history, luxury. I am thinking about the fragments of stories that we know about ourselves, and how they come out in pictures.


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