Rivers of the World is an international art and education project delivered in partnership with the British Council, which connects pupils around the globe to their local river through environmental, economic and cultural learning and themes.
Working with an artist or designer, pupils learn and gather ideas that are channelled creatively into drawings, paintings, photographs and other visual media which result in the creation of a collective large-scale work of art. The artworks are then curated and exhibited in galleries, along the River Thames walkway, schools across the UK and around the world in partner countries.
The project allowed Head of Art at Dawlish College, Liz Lithgow, to visit schools in Malawi for what she has described as a “life-changing” experience. Liz taught in a school there, introducing students to painting, which they had never experienced before. In turn, three Malawian teachers visited Dawlish College, bringing their experiences and culture to students in the college.
As part of this ground-breaking international project, and supported by funding from The Helen Foundation, South West artists Becci Eriksson & Gaby Lovatt worked with 30 year 8 students at Dawlish College recently during the college’s first Africa Week.
Students learnt about the Gule Wamkulu, an important ritual dance performed by Nyau dancers who wear costumes and masks made of wood and straw, representing a great variety of characters, such as wild animals, spirits of the dead, as well as more recent creations such as the helicopter!
Inspired by the Gule Wamkulu, students then designed and created their own masks that were later exhibited at the Exeter Phoenix, along with work from students across England. What an amazing exhibition it was! Huge congratulations to all the students involved, to the teachers and to the project organisers.
That has done so much to increase international contact and understanding and to inspire remarkable creative art work.