Project: Window of the hearts
Location: Naluo Elementary School in China
Time: May 2016- April 2017
Participants: 43 First Grade Students
Photo credited to Haolin Li & Yilin Li
Process: I volunteered as an art teacher at Naluo Elementary School, located in a remote village in southern China. This is my former elementary school where I first lived. A portion of the students only meets their parents a handful of times each year which causes their personality shy and introverted. During my time there, I offered a range of materials and guided 43 students in my class to use art as a tool to express their emotions with simple prompts like "What’s your happiest/ sad moment with your friends/ family?". I collected their drawings and encouraged them to share their story with me. After I returned to the United States, I designed a photo memory book with all their drawings and stories as a gift and mailed back to China to them. I also presented the process of this project to people in the united states.
Goal: It is hard for children to express in words because of their cognitive ability, which may affect their mental and emotional health. Art helps me to overcome introversion and unlocked a new side of my personality. The process of art-making could be a way for them to express their feelings and to tell their story. By sharing their drawings and the photo memory book to people around them, I want them to feel positive and confident about themselves.