An art project at the Ah Muh Academy in Apia highlights the importance of knowledge and art in professional life and encourages students to think about their future.
German volunteers Diane and her 11-year-old son Willi Ziegler have been teaching art at the school over the last month and launched art projects which has become a star attraction for students.
They have been teaching third and fourth grade students in art one lesson a week and Willi makes his own lessons during the lunch break every day.
To make the best out of the limited resources, Diane and Willi decided to paint with pencils and Willi prefigured motifs to give the students an inspiration.
Diane is an architect (interior designer) back home, where she runs her own business and teaches as a professor at a university.
The professional knowledge Diane brings with the art is her openness in sharing her gift, which has opened up new possibilities to students in terms of the possibilities of being an artist and the understanding of it, according to the principal Ms. Loretta Enoka Ulugia.
Ms. Ulugia highlighted the important role Willi took on and said he is an inspiration to students in his age group.
“What I thought was really beautiful is that they started to create out of the idea from Willi their own style. It is surprising how good they are in drawing, the progress is incredible some of them are very talented. Drawing is one of the things that requires a lot of practice,” Diane said.
Changes in student’s behavior through the projects have been noticed by her, teachers and the principal, who highlighted the importance finding different tasks to put the kids’ energy into – instead of running and playing around the campus.
“It is refreshing seeing what the students are capable of. The development of understanding and the love for art that they (students) discovered during the projects is very important. I have seen children now carrying their art books around which is something new and just sitting down quietly and doing their drawings. I would like to have more artists coming in and sharing their knowledge with the students to inspire and giving them the courage to do it,” Ms. Ulugia shared.
She said it is her intention to create a room for students and supply resources to enable them to draw during their break.
Ms. Ulugia pointed out the current art classes have been discouraging students due to the limited imagination in the way they have been structured, without freedom for creativity, which in Willi’s classes have been provided.
The idea to paint on the walls came through a previous project.
According to Ms. Ulugia art persuaded other ways of thinking particularly with this project, as kids in Samoa do not normally think about long-term goals.
The school intends to bring professionals in future classes to raise the students’ understanding of their future professions.