The Cheng Long Wetands International Environmental Art Project is very unique because a large component of the project is tied to environmental education. Each year the artists work with the local elementary school children and incorporate ideas and activities related to their artwork into a weekly 2-hour lesson.
We have 5 artists this year: Christopher Varody-Szabo from Quebec, Canada, is making a portable landscape; Chao-chang Lee from Taiwan is making a dragon out of oyster shells; Marisa Merlin from Italy is spelling out “Earth” in Chinese characters made from sandbags; Roger Rigorth is making huge bottle forms of bamboo; and Tsuneo Sekiguchi from Japan is making a “rainbow boat” that will be installed at the temple courtyard. Thursday afternoon was the first class with the children, and the artists had wonderful activities planned for them.
Roger introduced Germany with a children’s song, then taught the students how to work with bamboo, which will be his main material.
Chris introduced Canada and his portable landscape project. The children then planted seeds in bamboo “pots”… and took a little break with a game of “duck, duck, goose”!
Tsuneo meditates every day, and taught his students the art of meditation. He then showed them how to make a rainbow, so they will know how to take care of the “rainbow boat” when he returns to Japan.
Marisa’s project has an additional component: the sandbags will have soil, and local plants growing on top. The artwork is a living installation and will change over time. The children learned about Marisa’s hometown of Padua, then learned about the local flora through a painting project.
After playing a friendly game of soccer with the children, Chao-chang introduces his project to the children, and asked them to draw a dragon… and make a wish which will be put inside the artwork..