Celebration of Black Voices Week

We have had a fantastic time this week celebrating lots of black artists and authors and learning about important figures in history. Normally we’d be able to welcome inspiring visitors into the school but, due to the current restrictions, this wasn’t possible this year – luckily we had plenty to keep us busy! This is just a snapshot of the work we’ve been doing – please check out the class blogs for more information…

In Reception, the children read the book ‘Riley Can Be Anything’ and thought about what they would like to be when they are older and drew a picture. After learning about the artist Frank Bowing, the children thought about a feeling and why they felt that way then used a specific colour to draw a colour monster based on the book, ‘The Colour Monster’ by Anna Llenas. The children also worked in the style of Frank Bowling to create paintings reflecting feelings using sponges and specific colours for representation. The historical figure they learnt about was Mary Seacole and much nursing of wounded soldiers was undertaken in her honour in the home corner!

In Year 1, the class learnt about civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. They especially enjoyed this song, on the BBC website – https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/watch/horrible-histories-song-rosa-parks-sat-on-a-busThe children impressed their teachers with thoughtful answers and reflections on the action Rosa took to make enormous changes to our world. They also looked at the art work of Hank Willis Thomas and were inspired by his sculptures and photography work to create a gorgeous hand art collage.

Year 2 created a Nelson Mandela timeline marking the most significant events in his life and focused on the artist Faith Ringgold. Inspired by the book, ‘Tar Beach’, the children enjoyed thinking about where they would go if they could fly before creating their own ‘patch’ for our own class patchwork (paper) quilts! They also read ‘Follow your Dreams Little One’ by Vashti Harrison and ‘I am Enough’ inspiring them to think about what makes us unique. The children wrote some lovely sentences like ‘I am happy, like a rainbow’ and ‘I can draw like Frida Kahlo’.

In Year 3, they explored the lives of various Black British role models, created art inspired by the work of Kehinde Wiley, enjoyed a superb tie-dye workshop based on the work of Alma Woodsey Thomas and took a deep dive into Lupita Nyong’o’s book ‘Sulwe’! We also learned about a notable figure in world history (and someone who is often mistakenly identified as white), Hannibal of Carthage!  ​

In Year 4, the children learnt about the life of Walter Tull and have written about the differences between then and now and what he went through.  They have also looked at the lives of various individuals and created stained glass windows  depicting famous black figures such as Benjamin Zephania , Mara Angelou and many others. They read the inspirational book ‘Look Up’ and wrote their own versions using the same theme and message.

Year 5 began the week with researching people from the black community who were the first to break the barriers on society’s limitations. They learned about Clive Sullivan, Frank Bailey, Diane Abbott and Margaret Busby who were pioneers in their careers and remarkable people. They then dived into Malorie Blackman’s ‘Cloud Busters’, which is such a powerful poetry book that tells the story about a friendship between two boys. They finished the week learning about Jason Lawrence and were inspired to try to recreate the Shepherd’s Bush skyline in his style.

Year 6 looked at Jamila Gavin in English where they read The Golden Carp from her book Blackberry Blue (a book of short stories). They studied her work and wrote a description of their dreams as well as a fairytale. They studied Toyin Odutola’s work and created silhouette self-portraits inspired by her piece ‘Lonely Chambers’.  They also learnt and thought about Olaudah Equiano, who was an African sold into slavery and became an influential and powerful abolitionist. Further to studying her earlier in the year, they listened to a podcast with Floella Benjamin – hearing more about her life in Trinidad and what happened when she moved to England.