Chinook students fly giant kites as part of three-year art project

By Garrett Simmons

Lethbridge School District No. 51

Communications Officer

Chinook High School students were flying high Thursday afternoon – literally.

Artist Ed Pien, who has worked with Chinook art students three times over the past three years, visited the school to showcase giant fish kites, created in part through collaboration with Chinook students.

When the project began, Pien asked students consider the fish that live in southern Alberta, according to Victoria Karmali, Art Teacher at Chinook.

“Next, he discussed the idea of transformation,” said Karmali. “Students were asked to consider how a fish might transform or adapt to living in a polluted environment.”

After developing some drawings and ideas, students worked collaboratively to create large-scale acrylic painting of their transformed fish.

“Ed worked with several different student groups to develop a collection of fish. Then, he had a professional kite maker create kites using the imagery created by the students,” said Karmali.

Approximately 90 Chinook students have participated in this project over the past three years.

“The opportunity to work with a well-established professional artist has been a fantastic experience for students,” said Karmali. “They have been deeply involved in the creative process. Ed is a wonderful teacher and mentor for students.”

The experience also showed students what it looks like to be a professional artist.

“I think one of the best parts of this experience for students was the opportunity to be creative without any limitations,” said Karmali. “Ed showed students that whatever idea you can image can come to life. Students were truly able to consider the idea of ‘Art Beyond the Gallery,’ and how art can change and influence people’s ideas and perspectives.”

In this case, the audience is being asked to consider the impact of pollution on our waters.

“These ideas are important to the visual art program at Chinook, making this opportunity the perfect collaboration for Chinook artists,” said Karmali.

The result of the collaboration is a show at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Up in the Air, which runs Sept. 14-Oct. 20.

Karmali added the giant fish kites have also been flown in peaceful protest of pollution in our rivers and streams.

Date posted: Sept. 7, 2017

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