“Magico” - Not everything is quite as it seems

Nome della scuola:

English International School

Docenti responsabili:

Kate Taylor

Altri docenti partecipanti:

Vanessa Naidoo, Shannon Leili, Giulia De Agnoi

Numero di studenti coinvolti:



The aim of this years project is to bring the “Magic” world of art into our class curriculum through cross-curricular studies in history (Egypt), geography (World), language (spells and poetry) mathematics (Escher – tessellation) and music (Fantasia).
It is hoped that through their active participation the children will learn to explore their imagination, generate ideas and develop their artistic skills. They will experiment with new materials and techniques and consolidate artistic practices.
We will introduce sketchbooks at the beginning of the project with the aim of
encouraging the children to become actively involved in the process of the project and to engage with their own learning experiences. The sketchbook will serve as a reference point and it will include written and visual ideas including spell writing, hidden messages and symbols. It will be used in the classroom and the art room and hopefully at home too.
They will be involved in fact finding activities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the surrealist movement. They will study artists from the past and present (focusing on artists from the Guggenheim Collection) and discuss ideas to create their own interpretations.
We will travel back in time to Ancient Egypt where we look at the influences of symbolism throughout the ages.
We aim to study a variety of art forms including painting, collage, sculpture and printing and will study works by the following artists: Chagall, Magritte, Dali from the Collection plus Escher, Leonora Carrington, Bridget Riley, Damien Gilley, Leandro Erlich, Julian Beever and Mark Jenkins.


Phase 1: “Not Everything Is Quite As It Seems”

These sessions will be used to explore the ideas of the Surrealists and to consider the ambiguity of symbolism . The children will be encouraged to share their own  ideas and interpretations as well as listening and learning from the ideas of their peers.

Session 1: “Change your Point of View”

A simple drawing session. The children will start with an upside down drawing forcing them to see shapes and lines in order to make sense of the image.

Session 2: Chagall “Life is a Dream”

Look at Powerpoint including “The Village and I”, “The Magician” and “The Fiddler”. Use V.T. S. questions. Discuss surrealists and record children’s ideas and opinions.

Session 3: Difference between Illusions and Imagination.

Look at surrealist techniques of changing colour, place, size and materials . (Visual manipulation. Then look at illusions _ Escher. Optical illusions – Bridget Riley.

Session 4/5: Emotional Art

Colours – Moods – word brainstorm

How do we express ourselves? Children to design an Escher inspired template to hold their mood colours. In class develop colour mood poems and record in sketchbooks.

-          What is it (red). How does it feel, smell, taste, sound?

Phase 2: “ Symbols, Spells and Magic”

The second phase of our project will take us back in time and focus on the myths and magic of the Egyptians. As last year, the children will be working on a class topic of Egypt, and again our projects in art will run alongside classroom learning. We found this a great stimulus for the children and it was helpful to the class teachers who were able to plan cross-curricular for the project. We will focus on the belief in magical spells, the power of magic to solve many of the most common problems relating to health, love, marriage, children etc. Egyptian witchcraft depended on various other subjects like alchemy, astrology, astronomy and herbal medicine. We examine this in the context of the time in history it was taking place. We will also look at the beliefs in the Egyptian Gods and the role they played.

Session 6: Printing in Hieroglyphics.

Healing and protecting amulets.

Session 7/8: Egyptian Death Masks

3D Mod roc sculpture.

Session 9: Alchemy

Glue into Gold. Children will transfer their charcoal study of a chosen Egyptian God into glue then gold.

Sessions 10, 11, 12 and 13: Egyptian Mythical Creatures

The final stage of our project will bring together both phases in a progressive multi media challenge. The children will use their sketchbooks to draw and develop ideas for their own Egyptian mythical creature.

In Session 10 the background will be created using a musically inspired scribble drawing.

In the classroom the children will have already seen the video of Disney’s The Sourcer’s Apprentice from Fantasia. In the art room we will use two different instrumental pieces to inspire a large-scale crayon scribble drawing. The children will use both left and right hand movements in response to the music. We will recap our mood boards relating to colour and emotions when engaging in this task.

Session 11 will involve painting over and between the scribbles using block tempra and brusho, experimenting with brushstrokes, textures, overlapping and mixing colours. At this point we will discuss what it felt like to engage in the large-scale production. We will focus on the process – what did it physically feel like? How did it make the children feel? What was it like to have such freedom of experimentation? Was it liberating or daunting to have such a blank canvas?

Our intention is to value the process, not just the final product.

Session 12 will be used to create the backgrounds by tearing and relaying the papers created in the previous sessions onto a square card in a random collage style. Each child will decide the layout of the torn pieces and then begin to glue them on until the whole card is covered.

The final session, Session 13, will be used to design the facial features of each creature adding fur and scales using Indian ink.

Nodi tematici

- Change the point of view

- Life is a dream

- Difference between illusions and imagination

- Emotional art

- Symbols, spells and magic

- Hieroglyphics

- Egyptian death masks

- Alchemy

- Egyptian mythical creatures