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.

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