Re-Imagining Walls of the City
Primary School Students
By Rabeya Jalil
Rabeya Jalil is an art educator and visual artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. She works as an Assistant Professor at the Beaconhouse National University (BNU). Jalil did her undergraduate studies in Fine Art from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, Pakistan in 2005. In 2013, Jalil completed her Masters in Art and Art Education (Ed.M.) from Columbia University, Teachers College in New York on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Jalil has exhibited her work in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, India, U.A.E., U.S.A, Spain and Portugal. Her visual art practice includes mixed-media paintings and code animations. Her art education/ research practice involves working with school art teachers, children with special needs, and individuals from low-income family backgrounds and culturally diverse populations. She works to highlight children’s marginalized experiences of cities through Bachon se Tabdili, a creative education initiative. Jalil has presented papers at (Art Education and Printmaking) conferences in Lahore, New York, Fort Worth (Texas), San Diego, St. Louis (Missouri), and Chicago, and has published her work nationally and internationally.
Wall Project with Children
Individual Artists' Project
The Stencil Art Project
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LESSON PLAN GUIDE/ CURRICULAR GUIDE
Experience how two art educators lead a community-‐based initiative by engaging children from suburban districts to revamp public walls; erase hate graffiti and wall-‐ chalking and replace them with interactive drawings.
Many public walls in Karachi (Pakistan) are covered in hate graffiti against ethnic groups, wall chalking of political party slogans and unauthorized advertisement texts. Bus stops, heritage sites, parks, building boundaries, side-‐walks of main roads, underpasses and flyovers are some of the most common places to publicize these mass messages. The core objective of our community-‐based art initiative was to creatively reclaim these public spaces. It was a city-‐wide movement to eradicate hostile and negative writings from the city and replace them with images representing positivity, unity and peace – with children’s artistic expression and creative interpretation of public and private spaces. It was a three-‐tiered project (The Stencil Art Project, Wall Project with Children and Individual Artists Project), that enables individuals to engage with the city and generate a dialogue through visual communication.
One of the projects (the Wall Project with Children) was the extension of an on-‐going initiative, Bachon se Tabdeeli (Making a Difference through Children) led by two art educators (Rabeya Jalil and Shahana Rajani) who have re-‐interpreted drawings made by children from three suburban localities of Karachi (Shireen Jinnah Colony, Lyari and Pechs). The drawings evolved through a series of art workshops (conducted as a pilot project, under the same initiative) that facilitate public school children to understand and visualize their engagements with public spaces. Children went through creative practices of drawing and mapmaking.
Phase 1* (discussed in detail later/ divided into 8 sessions)
WORKSHOPS enabled children to understand and visualize their engagements with public spaces in their neighbourhoods through creative practices of drawing, mapmaking and other artistic mediums. Workshops explored how these public spaces represent infinite possibilities for play, imagination, adventure and friendships. Children identified public spaces that are part of their daily life and the activities done in those spaces. Mapmaking allowed children to creatively express, make sense of and connect with their immediate surroundings, including play spaces, secret places, the natural world and pathways and routes between places. Children were also encouraged to
verbally and creatively advocate to others about the importance and value of public spaces.
MAP LEAFLET was published, based on the information collected from children’s maps. These maps represented children's use of public spaces in the selected neighbourhoods. Accompanying text explained the project, highlighted the importance of public space for children and explained its benefits.
EXHIBITION displayed children’s art work made during the workshop and the documentation of the workshops, video clips of children and interactive activities for children and adult visitors. Visitors learnt about the different public spaces in the different areas of Karachi.
For the Re-‐Imaging Walls of the City project, these drawings were enlarged and, after the State’s (Government’s) consent, recreated on large public walls in collaboration with a billboard painter. The aim of this art education initiative was to highlight children's role as dynamic agents/ advocates in society who actively produce and make use of spaces in their vicinity. Through this process, children gradually discovered the potential functions of communal places, identify spaces for play and friendship and celebrate experiences of cultural diversity in their respective regions. They also reflected on the socio-‐environmental issues affecting public spaces. With the support of a strong team of students, artists, educators and the wider community, we attempted to help create vibrant communities that supported equitable access to quality learning through art education.
- Embrace the city as a classroom; a school without boundaries
- Highlight children's role as dynamic agents/ advocates in society who actively produce and make use of spaces in their vicinity; explore the production of public spaces by children
- Explore the potential functions of communal places, identify spaces for play and friendship and celebrate experiences of cultural diversity in different regions.
- Reflect on the socio-‐environmental issues affecting public spaces
- Create vibrant communities (with the support of a strong team of students, artists, educators and the wider community) to support equitable access to quality learning through art education.
- Design a curriculum that assimilates integrated and project based learning
- Engage with the Arts through public discourse; create spaces and opportunities for extending transformative learning in art and humanities to wider audiences
PROCESS: For carrying out a similar project in one's own community
Total number of workshops at each school: 8 Each session: 2-‐3 hours
Name of Schools:
Government Boys Primary School Cantt No. 1
Shireen Jinnah Colony Karachi, Pakistan
Government Girls Primary School Shireen Jinnah Colony
Pak Jamhooria, Girls Primary School Shireen Jinnah Colony
Phase 1*: WORKSHOPS
Summary: 8 sessions
Pay attention to the ways in which children value, find meaning in and make sense of their immediate public environments.
Allow children to creatively express, through drawing and other activities, the relationships they have with their immediate public environments.
Artist-‐educator will identify the public spaces that are part of children’s daily life.
- What routes and galis do they regularly walk through?
- Where do they play?
- What are their imaginary and/or secret places?
- Where do they meet new people and make new friends?
- Where do they hangout with their friends and/or family?
Identify the activities done in those public spaces.
Understand how public spaces represent infinite possibilities for play, imagination, adventure, friendships, social and cultural exchanges.
Map an aerial view of their daily route from home to school (with graphite pencils only on cartridge sheet, 20 x 15 inches)
List the public spaces that have been identified by students as part of their daily lives, and the activities done in those spaces?
The railway track Mosques
School Park Buildings
Buildings in Construction Road
Food stalls, carts Water tanks
Lorries, trucks, rickshaws, motorbikes, cycles Beach
Hamza Masjid Haqqani Masjid
Mustafa Masjid Ayesha Masjid Bilal Masjid
AbuBakar Masjid Amna Masjid Madina Masjid Mavia Masjid Sadia Masjid Kosar Masjid Laal Masjid
Shaheed Benazir Park Clifton Park Zamazama Park Aladdin Park
Sahil Samandur Marine Center
Shopping Centers/ Shopping Malls: Chase Up, Hyper Star, Charya Chok, Masan Chok, Kaladar
Kunchay, Buntay (Playing with round marbles) Cricket
Shopping Football Gulli Danda
Dining, eating out Leisure trips with family
Roaming/ walking around with friends
Helping their fathers and brothers in their work
Escorting, chaperoning their younger siblings to and from school
Observational and memory drawings of one public space/ space that they occupy or see frequently (with colored markers only on cartridge sheet, 20 x 15 inches)
Identifying ways in which children occupy public spaces, choosing one activity from them
and then visualizing/ interpreting/ expressing it (with pencil and oil pastels). (on cartridge sheet, 20 x 15 inches)
Exploration of acrylic paint with brushes
Learning about color mixing, color exploration, paint application (on cartridge sheet, 20 x 15 inches)
Collaborative Mapping Project
Feeding off from and taking inspiration from their ‘Session 1’ mapping project, the students will collectively (and in groups of 5-‐6) be working with mixed media (pencils, coloured markers, oil pastels,
and acrylic paint) on a white-‐based large 8 x 4 feet lasani sheet.
Identify elements/ issues/ concerns that are unfavourable in their public spaces and visualize, interpret and represent them through materials and mediums of their choice on cartridge paper, 10 x 7.5 inches
If they were given complete authority for a year to work for the development of their locality and immediate public spaces, how would they improve, build and reinvent their spaces?
Also, how could they improve the status quo of the problems identified in their first task of the advocacy project?
Reflecting on tasks 2 and 3, they would visualize, interpret and represent them through materials and mediums of their choice on cartridge paper, 10 x 7.5 inches.
Identify and drop a pin on their collaborative lasani sheets at their drawn places/ areas and spaces where they want to make and see those changes and improvements.
Make a Key corresponding to their dropped pins and connect it to their two advocacy drawings/ art works (that will be places adjacent to the collaborative lasani board during the work exhibit).
Practical problems in the workshops and some of the solutions
Children were unfamiliar with some of the art mediums and materials they were given and hence combining content with the ability to handle new material was challenging.
I tried to overcome this problem by introducing one medium/ material at a time along with a set of content based and inquiry based ideas for each day.
Also, they struggled between how to draw and expressing what they felt they wanted to draw. A dialogue before and during their art making activity facilitated their creative and artistic process.