Lorraine Yeomans – Art Teacher, Australia
My students from Nowra High school, Australia and I participated in Solidarity Park student project from March to May 2018. This culminated in my visiting Malgrat de Mar, Catalonia at the end of May ‘18.
The Solidarity Park project is a participation memorial project for the International Brigadistas from the sinking of the Ciudad De Barcelona in the Spanish civil war 1937.
Prior to my visit to Spain, I did 4 art workshops with my students. We learnt about the Spanish Civil War, Fascism, the International Brigades, Franco, the sinking of the Ciudad De Barcelona and the subsequent rescue of survivors by the people of Malgrat De Mar.
I took the mini Brigadista that I had purchased from the Chuffed fund raising campaign to class for them to hold. The students then each became an expert in 1 particular brigadista and did a drawing of them. I took these portrait drawings to Catalonia with me and they are still on display in the Solidarity Park gallery and will be used in an exhibition in November 2018. Together the students and I explored the values of solidarity, internationalism and freedom and they embedded this in their artwork.
In the 2nd workshop we analysed Eric Faulkner’s song, The Ciudad De Barcelona, which he donated to the Solidarity Park project. I took in the original lyrics and notation to show the students. The students then used the imagery and text from the song, combined with the facts they had learnt and created a narrative, in the form of a fold out book. These books also went on display in Catalonia, but have come home to the students as they were too precious to them.
The next workshop was a real time virtual video visit from Rob in his studio into my classroom via messenger and data projector. It was 9.30am Australia and 1.30am in Catalonia. It was brilliant as Rob took us through his practice and studio and the questions and discussion were really productive and fun.
Finally, a printmaking workshop, where we created monoprints from circular gel plates. The imagery was designed to look like a porthole. My students donated their best print to the gallery space in Malgrat.
When I went to Malgrat de Mar I was able to help in the 81stAnniversary events, which involved 100 local students from 2 local schools one in Malgrat de Mar and the other from Lloret de Mar. I spoke at a joint assembly of all the students bringing them solidarity from Australia and explaining our project to them. Later in the day I did a printmaking workshop with the students and met their lovely teachers.
I also helped Rob set up his studio/gallery in Malgrat, had a go at carving one of the Brigadista’s and made a little alabaster one to take home. I’m so excited with the progress so far. It really was a friendly, educational and positive experience for myself and my students.