Tomoko Sawada’s This Is Who I Am was the starting point for exploring the relationship between who we are and how the world perceives us. Reflecting upon the initial portraits they took of each other, this group of 12 – 16 yr. olds were eager to discuss their experiences of racist stereotypes and the reality of their culturally rich and multi faceted lives.
The pupils continued playing around with their appearances through cutting up, layering and drawing on their portraits. These tiny images were worked on within their sketchbooks, requiring close inspection in order to appreciate how imaginative and beautiful they are.
16 pupils who thought they were going to be painting and drawing, signed up for this first Mulberry Arts Club, part of a pilot programme for extra curricular activities in art and design. My challenge was to encourage them to fall in love with photography as an art form.
13 workshops later, including a visit to Autograph Gallery, the girls had developed confidence with using DSLR cameras and were highly motivated to experiment with photography as a medium to express their creative ideas.
Raise your hands if you love photography. 16 hands, right up there!