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Art Space » Dee-Ann Leach

Dee-Ann Leach

 The Educational Egg: “Teacher as Performing Artist

As a child, Dee-Ann found her best days at school were the ones when the pupils were called to the hall – to watch a troupe of educational performers. Costumed and in character, they would entrance moments with regals of splendour and adventure. The theatrical energy and fun, left learners receptive to the message and meanings of each piece. Those were the days she learnt well at school.

“Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can” accredited to Eleanor Roosevelt. The teacher performer appears golden and bejewelled, calm and centred – prepared for her performance. Her teacher’s mantle or cloak holds flights of wonderous possibilities, feathers arranged as rainbows. Wings are made of palm tree sticks, paper and vegetable bags glued and stitched together, a process designed and produced for this commission. The palm tree sticks have been a part of her creative process focus for some time. Noticing their husks and sticks crammed into garden refuse bins, she began collecting, processing and designing screens from what would have filled a landfill. The inclusion of custom-made fibre art pieces like the crocheted hat speak to the radiating halos of icons.  The colours and patterns of the hat connect with the patterns of the 2019 Educational Egg, designed by school girl Charlene Erasmus.

We are currently in a global shift that is, 2020 Covid19.Teaching and learning, indeed, school and school life stopped with lockdown. Many are left with a deep sense of uncertainty and time will tell what and how society responds to these challenges. What will be kept and what will be discarded. While each family and community process their choices, teachers around the world are skilling up. Classrooms went virtual – where they could with zoom; WhatsApp and platooning replacing old systems. As our society adjusts – may our teachers appear before their students “Wearing all that weight of learning lightly, like a flower” – Alfred Tennyson.

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