by Erikah Swift | November 28, 2022
The High Museum of Art came to GVP this month. As part of a long-term partnership between the two institutions, visiting artist Tanya Aguiñiga came to teach an art class to GVP Students.
All three forms gathered in the Form One classroom for this class. Miss Tanya is an artist who grew up on the US/Mexico border between Tijuana and San Diego. She told the students about her experience as a binational citizen; waking up everyday on the Mexican side of the border and crossing the border to go to school in the US.
Then, she began her instruction on visual storytelling. The art the students created is part of a larger project that Miss Tanya is working on with the High Museum. Over the next few months, she will be visiting schools and community centers all over Atlanta and helping them use papel picado to tell a story. Papel picado, which means “perforated paper” in Spanish, is a traditional Mexican decorative art form in which intricate and elaborate designs are cut into paper to represent different meanings. The pieces of paper are then hung on banners to dance in the wind.
“We are thinking about what joy in your community looks like. What and how do you celebrate? What is your favorite family celebration?”, she prompted the students. Along with her colleagues, who accompanied her, she asked the students to write a brief description of what they were going to draw before they drew it.
Amongst themselves and with the guidance of teachers, students talked about the different holidays they celebrate: Eid, Ramadan, Christmas and birthdays were popular ones. The central themes of each celebration emerged: special foods, music, and families coming together. At the end of this project, Ms. Tanya says she expects to have created and collected 500 strands of papel picado art, so 4000 pieces altogether. The exhibit will hang at the High Museum all summer.
Students are looking forward to visits at the High Museum in the spring semester as part of our visual art unit.