RIVA (Residencies in Visual Art) is a charity set up to place artists in schools and give children and their community the opportunity to work alongside professional artists. By doing so, children are able to be involved in an intensive creative process and produce their own work individually and collectively.
RIVA worked with Year 3 at Hanover primary school for three weeks on a project inspired by coral reefs.
The project started with a trip to Sea Life where the children were able to see real coral and marine life. The children then worked with artist Sophia Jones to create their own handmade book influenced by coral inspired illustrations. The students learnt about coral and how colonies form as well as coral reef restoration.
Students then spent ten days working with artists Lily Hawkes and Anna Law where they created individual artworks inspired by images and information about coral. Students learnt about the importance of our coral reefs as well as the main causes of reef destruction including coral bleaching events, rising sea temperatures, ocean acidity and pollution. Students also looked at various artists who have made artwork in response the coral and the ocean.
During this time students created personal coral reef environments as well as collective artworks such as a large painting and coral structures made from sticks and modrock. The children also created works on paper using collage, monoprinting, drawing and watercolour painting.
In response to the information presented about plastic pollution students created their own message in a bottle. They wrote down a pledge or a promise on paper and placed it inside a single use plastic bottle that they had collected. This was then used to create a plaster cast. Students also worked with white clay to sculpt their own bleached coral, these were presented together to create a large bleached coral reef.
Students also contributed to a film where they created audio and visuals inspired by coral and sounds of the ocean. These were combined with video footage filmed during the trip to Sea life and presented alongside their exhibition and performance.
The class worked for two days with dancer Mira Hirtz to develop a dance that was performed amongst a backdrop of the artwork they had created during the project. The movements incorporated props such as fish the children had made as well as plastic bags, which were used to create live audio during the performance. The dance saw students acting as coral, marine life and tides as well as touching on themes such as rising sea temperatures and plastic pollution.
The project culminated with an exhibition of all artwork created during the project as well as screening of the film and live performance from the students.
The RIVA team has consisted of:
- Deborah Law - artist and founder director of RIVA
- Anna Law - artist
- Sophia Jones - artist
- Lily Hawkes - artist
- Mira Hirtz - dancer and choreographer
‘Coral sea’ at Hanover primary school - summer 2019