Two murals created by sixth graders at Locke Elementary School during an Urban Gateways artist residency are currently traveling across the country as part of the touring exhibit Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan.
The students created the murals entitled “The Many Faces of Afghanistan” as part of a year-long Urban Gateways visual arts residency led by teaching artist Karen Light. The residency was based on The Breadwinner, a book by Deborah Ellis about an Afghan girl who dresses as a boy to make money for her family under the rule of the Taliban.
After the students read the book, Karen led them through discussions about the war in Afghanistan, why the United States is engaged in combat there, and what the students thought about war and oppression. “Whether they felt like the war was a good idea or not, they all could agree that the killing of innocent people, including children their own age, was terrible and enough to challenge us to think of better solutions to world conflicts,” said Karen.
To further demystify the Afghan people, Karen gave each student a photo of a different Afghan child, which they drew and painted using the grid-method. Karen then collaged the portraits together to create the 2 murals, which are among 43 others traveling with the exhibit by the American Friends Service Committee; he Locke students are the youngest artists represented in the exhibit.
Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan opened in Philadelphia, PA on October 7. (See photos of the Philadephia opening). The exhibits full touring schedule is listed below:
October 7- November 7, 2010 Arch St. Meeting House, Philadelphia, PA
December 9 – January 30, 2011 Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Flushing, NY
February 17- March 17, 2011 Simultaneous exhibitions at: The Social and Public Art Resource Center, Santa Monica, CA Mercado La Paloma, Los Angeles, CA
March 27- April 15, 2011 Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina
April 30-May 15, 2011 Columbia College, Chicago, IL