Can Art change life? Part 3 & 4

Ma Thandar Aung
Studio Xang had a talk with Ma Thandar Aung, who has joined the art class since May 2007, about her view on the progress while participating in the art class.

Xang:       Please tell me how old you are and which grade you are in.
Thandar:  I am fifteen years old. I am studying in Grade 8.  

X:      You have been studying with Studio Xang for long, do you remember any activities  
          you learnt?
Th:      I learnt a lot such as making houses with recycled milk bottles, making a zoo in clay, doing outdoor drawing, making stamps with erasers, making stamps with cardboard and string, printing stamp with vegetables and fruits, creating three dimensional objects with wire, drawing, and making handicraft. 

X:       Among these, which activity do you like most?
Th:     I like creating toys with wire string. I like it because I have to make my brain work. The creative process is not easy to remember so I have to pay attention to details to be able to make it again. I like using my brain because it improves my memory. I think this activity has more learning benefits because I learnt a handicraft skill and I improved my cognitive memory at the same time.

X:      In the art class, did you encounter any difficulties that you could not solve or do you think that there were any activity that were not useful for you? 
Th:     No, I can follow all the art activities well. If I have difficulties, teachers help me. The activities are always new. So as soon as I arrive to class, I am so keen to know what I will be learning in the class. Though I picked up my favorite activities because you asked, there is no activity which I do not like. 

X:       How fell about teamwork?
Th:     I work together as usual when the activities are the group work. I am aware that some activities can be done by myself but some need team collaboration in order to complete the work. When working in a team, we all become close; we can do better artwork and work faster than when we work alone.

X:      In the class, there are different people with different religion, ethnicity and skin color, sometimes  you meet with other students who you did not know and work together. What do you think of this?
Th:     It is good to meet people with different thinking. We will know and have a chance to learn how they think and how they do things. For example, if we do not agree on something, if they tell us what is prohibited or allowed in their culture or religion, we will know. If we pick the good points and follow, we will be good. It is also good to know about other cultures as well as ours. 

X:       Can you use any activities you learnt from Studio Xang in your real life?
Th:     Yes, I gained confidence to participate in drawing competitions from various schools. It is an inspiration for me knowing that I can do the handicraft activities as well as school lessons. It encourages me. I become more understanding of others in my social relations. I can control my mind when I get angry; I think of it first and try to understand and relax.

X:       What do you do in your spare time?
Th:     I join the art class in the summer school holiday. 

X:       What do you want to be in future?
Th:     I want to be a nurse who will take care of sick, helpless patients. 

Studio Xang had a talk with Mg Naing Lin Htet, who has joined the art class since May 2007, about his view on the progress while participating in the art class.

Mg Naing Lin Htet

Xang:   Please tell me how old you are and which grade you are in.

Naing:  I am seventeen years old. I am studying at eight grade.

X:       As you have been studying here for long, can you tell me which activities you like? Why?

N:      I like painting and drawing on canvas. It is the activity which starts with priming the canvas first and when it is dry, use paintbrushes and oil paint to draw. The oil color is mixed with Linseed oil. It is interesting for me because it is different from previous painting technique. In the past, we just used the paper to draw and all the materials were prepared by the teachers. We just draw. But in this activity, we have to prepare it from the beginning, then sketch and paint. We have to know how to mix oil paint while drawing. This activity is a more advanced level and I liked it.

X:       How did you feel about team activities?

N:      Teamwork is sometimes so frustrating. We have different ideas and they are not the same, therefore, we have to discuss and it takes time. If we do not work together, the end result is not successful. It is better to get the good result after group discussion so that we are working together. For me, I do as best as I can. Not only on my part, but I help the others too. I give a hand to others because I am older than others. This is good for me as I can lead others. But I prefer doing activities by myself.

X:       As you prefer working alone, which activity do you enjoy?

N:      I like the new creative activity which can be useful later on, like handicrafts. If the activity is too easy, it gets boring.

X:      What do you think about different people and culture? Do you think you should learn about them?

N:     I think we must. Now we are in Thailand. As we are staying in Thailand, we must know about Thai culture, language and rules. So that we will know what is happening in our surrounding and see what we should do. Besides, we should learn good things from them so that we would develop more ourselves.

X:       Can you apply the activity you learnt from the training? Do you think it is helpful?

N:     Yes. The activities such as teamwork and handicraft are helpful. We gain knowledge.

X:        What do you think about the teachers and their teaching methods?

N:      Good, they are patient. They choose the activity which all of our age group can do.

X:        What do you want to be in future?

N:        I want to be a mechanic and electrical engineer.

Naing Lin Htet’s father is U Chit Naing and he died of cancer last May. He is the eldest son in three children. Together with him, his brother is in grade seven at Hsar Mu Htaw school. But another brother is still inside Burma. His mother is not well and lives in Burma. After his father’s death, Naing Lin Htet continues his study while staying at Hsar Mu Htaw boarding house.

Can Art change life?- Part 2

Studio Xang talked with Ma Mar Mar Aye, who joined the art class in April 2008, about her view on the art classes. Most migrant children who attend school in Maesot go to Migrant children schools. These schools are run by the migrant community from Burma and are not yet recognized by the Thai authorities as learning centers. However Ma Ma Aye attends a Thai government school.
Mar Mar Aye and her sister playing with their Dad

SX:       How old are you?
Mar Mar Aie (M):     I am nine years old. 

SX:      Which grade are you in?
M:        I am studying in grade two at a Thai primary school. 

SX:       Can you remember when you started coming to the Studio Xang art class?
M:        Since I was young, around five years old, I think. 

SX:       Do you remember any activity from the class?
M:        A lot. Making doll with clay, making bicycle with wire, making flowers with color paper, embroidery, cooking snacks, making flowers with fabrics, painting and drawing many pictures. 

SX:        Among these, what did you like most?
M:        Making flower with colorful hosiery material, outdoor observation drawing and Mont Bee taunt (a Burmese snack made with sticky rice)

SX:       Why did you like those most?
M:        The colorful flowers are a good memory.

SX:        Why?
M:        I taught that activity at my school, that’s why I always remember it. In my school, we have to do handicraft things every week. On that day, the teacher showed me the materials she bought, and then ask me, what can we do with those? When I looked at, I saw the pieces of colored hosiery, the tape and wire sticks. So I told my teacher that we can make flowers with these things. Then teacher asked me: “can you do that? Can you teach all of us?” I said yes. I taught all the other students how to do it. Then, they all can do it well. Therefore, I felt very happy and satisfied and always remember that day’s activity. 

SX:       When you taught that activity to your friends at school, how do you feel?
M:        At first, even though I told the teacher that I can do and taught others, I was little nervous because I did not practice it at home since the first time I made it at Studio Xang art class. I was not sure that I could do it. Besides, the teacher was there and I felt more nervous. The first flower  I demonstrated was not so pretty. Then I tried the second one and it was very beautiful. The first one was like catching up with the lesson. After that, all went well and my nervousness went away. My friends and teacher praised me that I am a clever girl. And I also gained confidence in my work. 

SX:        What about outdoor drawing and Mon Bein Taunt?
M:        I like outdoor drawing because I can see a variety of sceneries, light and dark tones, the colors (green leaf or light green leaf, pink apple or green apple, etc.). Moreover, we can see the reality of  things, and breathe the fresh air. Then we can see each other’s drawing and feel the difference in the artworks. I like seeing many pictures made by my friends. I like Mont Be Taunt because it is Burmese traditional snack, which is easy to make and very tasty. 

X:        In this art class, how do you participate in the team work?
M:       I enjoy team work. We help each other so that other in the team get what they want and I get what I want. But we have to discuss about what we do and how to do it. Everyone in the group tries their best, for the finished project to be a beautiful one. I want to see all the group members happy and I like being a leader. 

SX:     Do you feel any difference between your current time at art class and before you joined the art training?
M:        I think I gained more knowledge as well as craft skills. I now think carefully about what I want to do first and then do it. 

SX:       How did you feel at first you joined the art class?
M:        At first, I was scared because I knew nobody and did not know the teachers yet. 

SX:        How about right now? Do you feel the same way as before?
M:        No. I have many friends at the class. I know the teachers and I enjoyed learning here. I have gained more knowledge. 

SX:        Do you think you can apply knowledge you learnt from the art class?
M:        Some activities can be used in the real life but not all. Some can be used as gift, some to decorate home. Some painting can be exhibited. And I shared the activities learnt from the class at my school. That is useful. I can do it. When I play with my friend and get angry, most of the time, my anger does not last long. I think that the reason I got angry is just because they don’t know something. Even though I got angry, I can forgive them. 

SX:       Do you think you should also learn other people’s culture?
M:        Yes, I think so. If we know about other cultures and the good things about them, we must learn from it. If we just know about our culture and do not know others, we will be just a dumb person. So that is not good. 

SX:       What is your ambition?
M:        I want to be an artist. 

SX:       Why do you want to be an artist?
M:        I like drawing. And it is not like the school lesson and does not need to memorize a lot. We can be creative. Through practice, we remember the technique. It is not difficult. I am interested in it. Therefore, I want to be an artist. 

SX:        In the art class, is there any activity that you can not follow/ that you feel is difficult?
M:        Yes, making the bicycle with twisted wire. I can not do it even though I tried. I finished only one but it is not pretty. But when I got home, I did it again and I got three bicycles. Now I can do it. If I can not do well in the class, I try again at home so that I feel satisfied. If I try, I can do more. 

SX:       What do you think of the teachers and their teaching?
M:        All are good, they care about us and teach us details. 

SX:        In your holiday, do you do art related activities?
M:      When I was younger, I attended the summer art class, but not now. My parents send me to the computer class. 

SX:        Thank you for your time!
M:          I also thank you for coming and talking with me.
Mar Mar Aye and her family
Talk with Mar Mar Aye’s parents
SX:        May I know your name?
Mum:     I am Ma Toe and her father is Aki. 

SX:        How many siblings does Mar Mar Aye have?
Mum:     She has one younger sister. 

SX:        How about Mar Mar Aye’s current educational situation?
Mum:    My daughter studies at a Thai school. She is good in her studies. In the previous year, she got in the fourth place. This year, she got first prize at an essay competition for Mother Day and No Smoking Day, second prize at the drawing contest and first prize at the calligraphy contest.  She gets the prize for calligraphy every year. She participated in the essay competition just this year. 

SX:        Mar Aye is a clever girl, is she smart since she was young?
Mum:    She does not need pressure from outside to study. She does it by herself. We did not expect that our daughter will be a smart girl who earns prizes at school. We are very happy that she is an outstanding student.  

SX:       You see that she excels at her study. Do you also see any changes of Mar Aye after she joined the art class?
Mum:   Yes, but not at the begining. After six or seven months, she was not afraid of anyone or anything anymore. Since the last two years, her thinking has changed and her ideas are good. Her relationships with others have improved. She can choose colors that match to her drawing. 

SX:        Do you think that she can practically apply the activities she learnt from the art class?
Mum:   She can because she has to teach at her school. And she received good marks in art at school. As she already knows how to do these things, she is confident. 

SX:        Could you please tell us about Mar Aye’s personality and behavior?
Mum:   She is a quiet girl. She does what she wants to do, but she is determined. She does not talk much, it seems like she is afraid of people, but she has the mind of a leader. She is a respectful girl to her parents too.

SX:        We thank you for your time!
Mum:   Thank you for coming and meeting with us, also we thank you for your generosity to teach our children.

Raising money for Sunrise School....

by selling cakes, selling raffle tickets and Christmas badges.

Our Year 8 students made cakes and sold them at break time to raise money, as well as selling Christmas badges and our lovely Jane made a fab Christmas cake which is being raffled off as well.

So far we have raised over £90.00 and there's still money coming in!

Thanks to everybody.

This was the raffled cake and it's been won by Corrina Bowden an Year 8 - lucky girl!

And here is our Christmas card winner - Ashley Bromley Year 8. Very well done to Ashley.