This project involved me and teammates working with local organisations like hospitals and schools to create works of art for donation. As IB students, and also as global learners, we have the responsibility to see the world through a caring lens, which means being committed to making a positive change in others’ lives. This project was centered around that aspect. We were sensitive to the current situation and understood that one of the places that has been affected greatly by the pandemic is health facilities. Inarguably, COVID-19 has seen an increase in stress and sickness, and these effects seem to be concentrated in places like hospitals. I wanted to do something to decrease the impact of the pandemic in my local community, and the best way I could think of doing that was through art.
This project was my attempt at taking something that is often used for personal expression and use it to benefit others. I wanted to bring together the two different worlds of the creative arts and social service and unite them in a way that aids a wider community.
My main role was to find organisations to work with. Going into the project, I knew I wanted to focus on my local community first and so, I made a list of hospitals and schools in my vicinity. I contacted several organisations and scheduled a meeting with them, over which I gave a description of the project and what our aims were. I was happy to see that most of the organisations I contacted were willing to take part in this process. We decided to work with Ruby Hall Clinic, Prashanti and Maple Tree School. After that, I asked each organisation the same set of questions to help us get started. Once the data was collected, we divided the work amongst ourselves according to our interests and began to work.
The first step was to design thumbnail sketches based on the themes that we had been given. My organisation (Ruby Hall Clinic) specified that they wanted earthy and vibrant colours. After looking for inspiration, I shared an artwork I found with them, and they insisted that I recreated it. With this, I began the painting process. For me, the main challenge was to get the proportions of the flowers right, and to create a balance between aesthetics and technique. While I wanted the paintings to look good, I also wanted to make use of art techniques to ensure high quality of work. Throughout the painting process, I had to constantly reflect on the colour choices I made and communicate with the organisation to ensure that it was turning out the way they wanted it to.
The pandemic placed heavy restrictions on our ability to communicate, and as the one in charge of all communication, I had to adapt to the situation and make sure it didn’t interfere with the quality of the project. This meant that all of our communication had to be shifted online and we had to find ways to collaborate despite not being able to work together physically. We often encountered glitches and network issues that got in the way of effective communication. Despite that, we were able to adapt to the situation and make sure that we were all on the same page, ensuring that the project continued seamlessly and without any delays.
The 2 pictures show the painting in progress and my final product.
Despite lasting only a month, this project allowed me to communicate with people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise and gave me a deeper insight into how art impacts daily life. This project began with a handful of us but along the way, I encountered another group of students who were interested in participating in it. Our impact on the local organisations created a foundation for future participants to build upon. Pandemic or not, there is always a need for art in society, allowing this project to continue far beyond these few weeks. This project pushes you to practice several abilities at once, like communication, leadership, planning and designing, helping you develop as an individual with a dynamic skillset. I feel proud to have been able to reach out my community despite the lockdown and keep service going despite all the challenges.