"YOU can use any part of your body to create art ..."
Artist Mikel Carlier is addressing young students at Wingham Brush Public School.
All eyes are on Mikel and the children listen in rapt attention. Mikel is conducting six days of art workshops with the primary school children.
The goal is multi-faceted: the children will learn to express themselves by using movement and paint; they will gain a greater understanding of their emotions; and collectively they will create one mammoth work of art.
On the first day of the Unity Engine Project the children have been asked to wear clothes they don't mind getting paint on. Teachers and P and C members have zipped themselves into protective coveralls.
It's an inspiring sight: huge drop sheets cover the floor and walls of the hall and large boards splattered with colourful paint are drying all around. This is the last session of the day, previous groups have already experienced the workshop and paint is everywhere.
According to Mikel the workshops offer a safe environment for the children to identify emotions and identify themselves. They are free to splash, fling and generally experience paint in a way they may never have before.
The end result will be a 15 x 3 metre mural made of hexagonal and square tiles. Each child will have contributed in some way to the artwork that will be the major centrepiece at the school's upcoming art show.
The school's P and C contacted Mikel who helped custom design the workshop for the students.
What started as a one day program soon became six and Mikel even recruited Jill Watkins of Circartus to be his assistant. Jill aka on this day "Cheeky Monkey" was using movement to fully immerse the children in the process.
With the basic premise that children needed an art class that would not be graded, Mikel set out to design a workshop that would be unlike anything the children have experienced in the classroom.
Judging by the smiles (and paint) on the children's faces and the laughter that almost shook the walls, Mikel delivered on his desire to let each child know just how awesome they are.
Click the link to see more photos of the children enjoying the Unity Engine Project