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.

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