Ms. Sherman, Middle School Visual Arts Teacher, and Doc Ellison, MS History Teacher
Last week, our 8th graders attended a presentation made by this year's artist-in-residence, Brendan Bannon, about his photography projects all over the world with the United Nations. Bannon’s presentation was the launch of our Images of Displacement and Hope project which will be a year-long integration with Art, History, & Reading.
With refugees from Syria and throughout countries in Africa, Bannon creates photographic portraits that enable them to tell their stories and share their experiences with the world. Bannon gives cameras to adults and even children in refugee camps and teaches them the technical skills to document their lives independently. Bannon shared his own story of being the son of a Ukrainian refugee and how his experiences led him to be passionate about this kind of work. His presentation and the photographic examples he shared, had the students engaged in thinking deeply and asking good questions about his topic. Bannon will come to work with the 8th graders in person this winter and again in the spring.
After hearing Bannon’s presentation, the 8th graders are currently analyzing portrait photography of famous photographers in art class. This exercise along with interviewing their parents, will help prepare them to work with the immigrants and refugees that they will interview in just a month or two.
After learning photographic techniques in art class and about Ukraine and the Holocaust in History class, our 8th graders will work together with the people they interview to construct a portrait photograph that will tell their story in a visual way and with words. Our goal is to help the students develop a greater understanding and empathy for the experience of immigrants and refugees.