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A Great Art Project

In honour of Black History Month, Grade 4 students worked on a fascinating cultural art project, where they created their own renditions of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s captivating artwork. Ms. Whiklo was excited to share the colourful and creative work of the celebrated artist with her students, to see how they would interpret both his work and his messaging.
After learning about Basquiat and his work, the students were eager to get started on their own renditions. After creating their own artwork, one student told Ms. Whiklo they “absolutely LOVED creating this abstract piece” as it offered a unique way of learning about Black History Month as well as art. A number of students shared similar feedback and were pleased to have learned about such important social lessons through the lens of art, with one student adding how they enjoyed getting “to learn about Black history and art, at the same time”.  
In reflecting on the assignment, Ms. Whiklo was really pleased to see how each student interpreted and recreated the art with their own flair, but the group was able to create a cohesive exhibit where each piece complemented the others and was unmistakably in celebration of the artist. “The students really enjoyed playing around with shapes, lines, and words, similar to the composition of Basquiat’s work," adds Ms. Whiklo. “I love that each artwork looks so different even though everyone took inspiration from the same artist, to create their 'own' Basquiat!”
Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Black American visual artist who become well known in the 1980s for his contributions to the neo-expressionism movement. His visual work was renowned for its unabashed political references and blunt criticism of colonial structures, class struggles, and systemic racism. Basquiat’s work focused on poignant social dichotomies and offered social commentary about wealth inequality.
His work became highly recognized for its use of bold colours and raw gestural forms and gained notoriety for its alternative style and character. He was known to be fearless, creative, and highly driven, which allowed him to become a cultural icon, embodying the New York City art scene of the 1980s and beyond.
St. John’s-Ravenscourt School was founded in 1820 principally to serve the children of the Selkirk settlers. By 1834 there were forty students, evenly split between boys and girls. SJR has inevitably grown and changed over the years since, though its success throughout has been unimpeachable. We have graduated 18 Rhodes scholars, for example, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted patronage and established a scholarship in her name in 1981. Today the programs are as strong as our reputation. A strong academic program is paired with an equally strong attention to the values of stewardship, ethical leadership, and excellence in all areas of academic, social and athletic life.