Fourth grade students have been studying cultures from around the world in art class. Students began their journey by describing the artwork and reading about customs from India.
This unit allowed students an opportunity to focus on the concept of radial design. By the fourth grade, students have learned a great deal about pattern in their previous art and general education classrooms. This year, while studying art from India, students identified how pattern may be balanced with the design extending from the center.
Both of the projects for our study of India required students to create a radial design. Images of textile patterns from India were presented on each classroom table for students to inspire their own creations.
Our first project was a mixed-media elephant painting. Each class identified colors and patterns used during India's Ganesha Festival. Students discovered the importance of elephants in this festival, as well as many beliefs and traditions in India.
Each student created their own mixed-media painting using colored pencils, watercolor and tempera paints. Students were encouraged to include at least one radial design in their composition.
Each student began the project by creating an environment for their elephant. Students used watercolor paints to create a landscape of their choice: desert, field, underwater, or even outer space! Students painted their elephants using tempera paint on a separate sheet of paper. Once the paper was dry, they cut their elephant out and glued it on their watercolor landscape. The elephant's blanket, face paint and other patterns and details were done with colored pencils.
We continued our study of India by creating personal hamsas. A hamsa is a talisman in Indian culture thought to protect the owner. Students carved several symbols to represent themselves and interests. We used cardboard, aluminum foil and tempera paint to create the artwork.
After students had completed their foil hamsas, they chose a background color to mount the artwork on. Once again, we reviewed the concept of radial design. Each student created a unique background using construction paper and permanent markers.
Since our study of India, students have continued a journey around the globe, studying the artworks of China and Japan. Soon we will be beginning a new unit, and students will create clay tiles using radial design inspired by Islamic art. I am particularly excited for this clay project as an opportunity to encourage philanthropy, a concept fourth graders are focusing on in their general education classrooms this year. More information and our finished projects will be presented at this year's Fine Arts Night at Oregon Elementary School on May 3rd!
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