We were recently fortunate to get to speak with ADE Ana Helena Grimaldi who is doing some amazing work with the iPad as a part of her visual arts classes in Brazil.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born in a family of educators in a small town in the state of São Paulo. I graduated in Systems Analysis in Campinas and I worked in this area for nine years. In this job I became more and more involved in users’ support and training. One day, I started an Art course at an artist’s studio. She invited me to be her assistant in classes and I fell in love with art teaching.
Nowadays I’m a visual artist and I graduated in Art Education. I teach visual arts at Escola Comunitária de Campinas to 8th and 9th graders. I’m Coordinator of art classes for adults at Arquitec Escola de Artes e Design. I’ve also worked as a partner with Fundação Bienal de São Paulo for the past three editions. Recently I was Assistant Curator of Art Education at the 1st International Triennial of Contemporary Arts at SESC, in Sorocaba. I’m about to conclude a post graduation “Education in Museums and Cultural Centers” at Instituto Singularidades, in São Paulo.
When did you first start using the iPad in class?
In 2013, my school adopted the concept one to one, using iPads Apple for students of 9th grade and High School.
In general, how widely is mobile technology being harnessed in Brazil?
I think the technology is increasingly been used in Brasil, like I just saw in the Institute in Miami.
But I think there still remains a lot to be done, especially in public institutions.
How have you used the iPad to support your teaching of visual arts?
As an Art educator I reach my purposes by:
Developing the students perception of art as a means of seeing and reframing everyday life, stimulating creativity, arousing new gazes, fostering new discoveries and encouraging the interest in contemporary art.
The usage of iPad has improved the education process by allowing a closer rapport between me and my students. Their fascination for Apple devices approaches our protagonization during classes: they feel free to investigate new tools for usage of iPads wich makes them participate more actively in their learning process.
You recently completed an amazing iPad-infused project focused on Brazilian artists Lygia Clark. Tell us how this project came about.
To know Lygia Clark’s work means to get in touch with creation by one of the most important Brazilian plastic artists. Clark abandoned the traditional forms of making Art and started to produce three-dimensional objects people could interact with. Experiencing a few pieces of her work, it is possible do grasp the sensorial possibilities of Clark’ work.
This is the program class about it:
Art Process – Lygia Clark (Brasil, 1920-1988)
Presentation and exploration of Lygia Clark’s work, focusing on “Caminhando” [Walking], on relational objects and on her pieces’ core design to invite the public’s interaction, thus enticing sensations and allowing for relationships.
Debating and reflections.
Exploring the app “Livro-Obra” for iPADs, with images and texts about the creative process.
Exploring a few of Clark’s works such as “Caminhando” [Walking], “Bichos” [Animals] and “Trepantes” [Climbers] with the app “Livro-Obra” for iPad.
Creating and exploring “Caminhando” [Walking] using Moebius Strips.
Choosing “Bichos” [Animals] in the iPad to print and then assemble.
Creating new “Bichos” [Animals] and “Trepantes” [Climbers], using several different materials.
- Practice #2:
Group dynamics: creating big-dimension “Trepantes” [Climbers], with intervention in the school yard trees.
Recording the work with iPads.
What were the key resources you used throughout the project?
- Presentation of images and context of Lygia Clark’s creative process and works.
- Book and Atelier Notebook: Linhas Vivas, by Renata Sant’Anna and Valquíria Prates.
- This YouTube video: Walker Art Center curator Peter Eleey discusses Lygia Clark's Bicho. (Walker's exhibition The Quick and the Dead).
This app, designed by Itaú Cultural and Associação Cultural O Mundo de Lygia Clark, recreates Lygia Clark's "Livro-Obra" [Work-Book], published in 1983, through a rich interface that reinterprets its manipulable structures, textures and finishings.
The "Livro-Obra" follows the artist's trajectory since its first creations to the final neoconcrete phase. It is an elaboration on cut-through, moveable, foldable and twisted planes that depends on a counterpart: the reader and his/her required interaction with the work. We hope that you, reader-artist, can follow on the footsteps Lygia did by touching, gesturing and interacting with the app, thus revisiting the important discoveries reported on the original work – this time on your own iPad.
Do you think that the project could have had the same impact without the iPad?
I think the iPads allow a diferent approach from traditional teaching that is very helpfull. The students were deeply involved and motivated in all assigned tasks, using iPads.
The iPads allowed them to share their work with their peers and families and it improved their interest in Art.
What would you say to a art teacher who was hesitant to use technology as a part of their teaching?
Well, my passsions are Art and teaching and I’m sure the iPads can help us to improve our rapport with the students. We don’t need to be afraid of sharing the protagonism of learning about technology with the youths. It can be very usefull and funny in the learning process.
You've been working on a Post-Grad focused on learning in museums, are you a fan of the virtual tour type apps that some museums have released?
Yes, I am. I think it’s an important tool to awakening the interest of students about art and museums, but I think that nothing replaces the experience of visiting the institutions.
What's next for you Ana?
I want to develop new projects with my students, using tools such as iBooks. I’d also like to share my experiences and the strategies of using iPads in Visual Arts discipline with my peers.
We wish you all the best Ana and can't wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks for taking time out for us.