On May 5th 6th and 7th the Bella Coola Valley Arts Council once again hosted the annual Children’s Art Show featuring Students of the Bella Coola Valley. There were entries from all the Valley schools: BCE, SAMS, Acwasalcta and The SDA school. I had counted about 120 pieces of art entered and hung.
However, when I challenged one of the visiting students to count how many pieces there were, he insisted there were 232. I thought he had miscounted but he showed me that on one large piece from Acwasalcta School there were 105 hearts all done by different students and showing their individual designs representing ‘one heart one mind’. There was also another piece to do with tadpole losing his tail featuring multiple contributions.
I was at the gallery for all three days and over that time I looked at the pictures many times and as I did so I saw more and more details and creative ideas expressed in the artwork. Obviously at times their teachers had given them a specific project, for example drawing a cat. But what a range of interesting cats there were. Another project for senior students was to copy well known pictures done by famous artists. It was immediately obvious what painting they were copying and their drawing skills were very sophisticated.
On the Thursday and Friday students from the schools came by the gallery to see their own work and that of fellow students. Over 130 students flowed through that little gallery. They were asked to pick out their favourite picture or the most colourful one and we would talk about it. However, what was really priceless was to listen to the students talking amongst themselves about what they were looking at.
I am not going to try to mention the many excellent contributions but there was one piece of art that attracted the attention of all the young boys. One of the Seventh Day Adventist boys had constructed an airplane out of a pen, crayons, clips and other inventive materials. I don’t know how many times I had to remind students ‘not to touch’ but it survived the enthusiastic interest of many hands.
Many thanks to all the students who were brave enough to show their work, and of course to the teachers who made it all happen.