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Middle School Artists Celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month


Brooklyn Friends is celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month from rooftop to basement and from Pearl Street to Lawrence Street. Middle School art students are diving in paintbrush-first. Read the details below of how our artists are being inspired by Hispanic/Latinx artists and traditions.

Fifth grade Studio Art students fabricated Barriletes Gigantes-the traditional large kites in honor of Guatemalan family members who have died. Each year, on All Saints Day, the kites are flown over the graves of loved ones. Guatemalans also commemorate all of those who fought and died in battles for independence. The 5th graders produced one gigantic kite as a community project. Every student’s designs were arranged into patterns directly onto the kite. The designs were drawn, painted and printed using a linocut process onto pieces of vinyl and tissue paper, later to be appliqued onto the large kite. The forms were inspired from Mayan Art. still heavily influencing art in Guatemala.

Sixth grade students created still-life paintings in tempera from an “Ofrenda” Table, in honor of the Mexican Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Traditional objects such as prettily painted skulls, food, candles, picture frames, and marigold garlands were arranged in order for the students to render their own painted compositions. They learned how to “frame” a composition, color theory in mixing and matching color as well as translating texture.

Several 6th grade students painted a devil mask in honor of The Dominican Carnaval Dominicano, learning how to enlarge images in proportion and accurately mix, match and blend tempera paint.

Seventh grade Painting students warmed up with paintings of exotic, tropical fruits from South America, inspired by both classical Spanish painters such as Juan Sanchez Cotan and Luis Melendez as well as Frida Kahlo’s still-life paintings. Students learned how to mix and blend acrylic color, achieving shadows and highlights on the fruit, giving the illusion of volume in form. Transparent glazes helped the students to layer subtle shifts of color. These delicious fruits are some of the food staples and juices of Latin culture turned into beautiful works of art.

Eighth grade Painting students created moody landscapes inspired by contemporary artist Sebastian Spreng from Argentina and Cuban painter Tomas Sanchez Regueiro. They examined how these landscapes are rendered with large simplified shapes using sections of shifting hue. The students learned how to accurately mix subtle color using the color wheel and how to smoothly blend the paints. The final step was the addition of pastel in small, selected areas to add atmosphere and softness.

Drawing students were inspired by social awareness artist Natalia Ancisco who combines flower drawings with renderings of crime scenes committed by Texas rangers, against Mexican people along the Texas-Mexico border. The focus of these student’s works is on the separation and detainment of children from their parents this past year. The Drawing students combined pencil drawings of mothers and children surrounded by colorful flowers inspired by the artist as a form of visual protest art.

Eighth grade Drawing students rendered black and white charcoal portraits of Hispanic changemakers. Each student chose a photographic portrait to work from, and rendered it in upside down sections in order to see the features as simple tonal areas of different values. The students learned how to blend these tones into realistic portraits of Hispanic/Latinix people contributing so much to society.

To come later: Painting students will be introduced to the Surrealist works of Spaniard Salvador Dali and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo as well as the contemporary, Puerto Rican, social justice artist Soraida Martinez.

Enjoy a selection below of photos of the Middle School artists and their work.