South Philadelphia High School

Fall 2015
Classroom Teacher: Barbara Keating
Teaching-Artist: Aki Torii

Students in Barbara Keating’s South Philadelphia High School worked with Teaching- Artist Aki Torii on a screenprinting project, which documented a piece of each student’s current history. The project created a historical record of the entire class for fall 2015. Students took inspiration from the ways that Amber Arts & Design utilized powerful visual technique to remind/retell the local history. Students connected with the work and felt it reflected issues that they were currently facing. Students also spent time studying the work of Kara Walker, especially the ways she retells history to create an alternative narrative. Students felt the freedom to interpret personal narrative in their own way in part because of the visual simplicity and playfulness of Walker’s silhouetted figures. Students brainstormed ideas to choose a pose that represented each student, such as a daily activity or personality trait. From there, students created their own printing screens utilizing their silhouetted pose. The project provided an opportunity for students to develop print skills, experiment, collaborate and explore by making their own work. The group played with the flexibility of screenprinting to create multiples, to print in different colors, try different surfaces and to make work that combined images from each other’s screens.