One of the most entertaining gifts I ever received at Christmas was from an unknown benefactor and I didn’t even notice it until a couple of days after the festivities were over. I’d been at my brother’s place and one of his three young children must have slipped it into a bag I’d packed with presents, ready for the journey home. It was a school project, but none of the students’ names written on it matched the names of my nieces or nephew.
The theme of the work was that diversity is okay and the way that the kids interpret their brief is adorable, hilarious and appropriately.. diverse.
To begin with, it’s apparently okay to have different pets, ranging from a big green turtle on wheels, a smiling pink fish with green fins and flippers, an orange-brown cat (also possibly wheeled) or a teeny tiny pig.
Generally I agree with Emmelie here, just as long as the cat is desexed and kept inside, the fish has an aquarium decent enough to keep that smile on its face, there is enough space for the pig to wallow and snuffle and the turtle has whatever it is that turtles need to keep rolling.
Bela claims it’s okay to live on a hill. Sure, but that looks like an incredibly steep incline. Bela’s family must be in tip-top condition or maybe they have a funicular or a cable car system. I assume this originates from Sydney, where my brother lives, so if they can afford to live on the top of a hill in that city, it’s not unlikely they could actually afford some kind of mechanised assistance to reach the summit.
They also have two windows, a chimney, possibly a barred gate and no neighbours, so I guess they’re not exactly struggling financially, but that’s totally fine. That’s the whole point of this exercise. Bela lives on a hill and I live in a caravan park. We’re all different and that’s okay.
I’m not sure Aurelia has totally grasped the concept of the assignment. While the hairstyles of her muses’ long yellow tresses do show subtle variations, the pink triangle dresses, orange upstretched arms and smiling faces are all identical.
Even the Powerpuff girls and Charlie’s Angels have different coloured hair. The only explanation I can think of is that perhaps she’s a descendent of the matrilineal side of the Brady bunch, with hair of gold like her mother (the youngest one in curls)?
Absolutely no judgement because it’s completely okay to hay diffrent her and I wish Aurelia every success in the world.
Now, this is more like it. Pretty sure this is the kind of diversity the teacher had in mind when creating this project. Hai says it’s okay to have different skin kula/cula. Of course, in the global context this skin kula is actually the most common one, but in the context of Hai’s classroom it is no doubt considered “different”.
The more divergent part is that the subject doesn’t appear to have a nose. However, with that big red smile and the lush green background, it seems that all is well in Hai’s world, so we can move on with confidence to see what else is playing on the minds of the younger generation.
There’s a lot going on in this next picture: blue sky, yellow sun, black stars, chimney smoke, red corpses, a purple door and a mysterious green shelf in the upper atmosphere.
As previously stated, I live in a caravan park, so I totally concur with Enna’s assertion that it’s okay to have a little house, but apart from that her art goes way over my head I’m afraid.
I have no idea what’s happening here. Is that a birthday cake between the corpses and what exactly is coming out of the purple door?
We can be thankful that the small space has not confined Enna’s imagination at all.
This one’s a tad controversial. Is it okay to have drfrnt colour socks? Personally I have no problem with it, but I have heard the opposing view point. They say it indicates a chaotic mind or something and I have noticed that I lose far fewer socks as I get older. The trick is to spin the washing machine drum around after you empty it to make sure there’s nothing hiding up top.
I do appreciate Kilian’s minimalist artwork. There was no effort wasted here by drawing two feet or the rest of the body or any kind of background. We just have the foot and part of the leg in what I assume is a sock, although it reminds me of those leggings with straps that were popular in the eighties.
This is my favourite. Skye writes that it’s okay to poot difrit Musick on, and can’t you just hear the rainbow and see the harmony? Look at the detail in the mirror balls and lighting rig!
The ballerina twirls and the dancer in the green shirt reaches for the lasers. Here are two completely different people brought together on the dance floor by the enticing interplay of music and light.
To me, this work encapsulates how, despite vastly dissimilar lifestyles and histories, humans can still be moved by the same experiences and in the end our motivations can often turn out to be the same.
Jake’s work is a little confusing at first, but it all makes sense when you think about it. I’m pretty sure the message we can take home is that it’s okay to have different voices, but it’s also okay to have a rugby ball. Can’t argue with that.
The two people depicted here are indeed very unalike. The text is a bit difficult, so I’ll translate. One of them says, “I have different voices,” and the other says, “Voices different I have.” In summary, whether you’re a red-head, duck-faced guy in skinny black jeans or the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, you deserve to be heard.
Also, if your ball is oval instead of round, that is definitely okay.
What is Arabel saying here? Of course it’s okay to have different colour hair and it’s perfectly acceptable to have yellow hair with green streaks, but is it okay to then label it as brown hair?
It seems like fake news to me. I mean, I guess everyone has the right to interpret the world around them in the best way they can, but facts are facts.
No, I definitely can’t condone denying science, but I will concede that probably what’s happened here is that Arabel couldn’t find the brown pen and has attempted to blend yellow and green to arrive at the desired colour.
Didn’t quite work, but good attempt at problem-solving!
Here is some outstanding work. For a start, Solange can actually draw hands! And not only is the subject wearing the French flag to convey linguistic variation, she even has a European-style scarf tied around her neck.
If we look deeper however, there is an ambiguous layer to this art. What is the meaning of the ghostly, blonde bob lurking behind the straight, brown hair of the central figure, and where is her mouth?
Does she feel shadowed and silenced by the predominance of white girls in her society or is she just turning her back and striding ahead of the monolinguals?
Let’s hope it’s the latter.
Now we’re getting a slightly surreal, Tago. Theoretically, sure, there’s nothing wrong with being different colour dinosaurs, except for the unfortunate fact that, whether green or brown, they’re all dead.
Wouldn’t you rather be a living person?
Obviously Tago’s empathy and understanding of diversity extends further than our own species and beyond our own time, which is surely something to be admired.
Even if they don’t exist right now, it is still okay to be any colour of dinosaur.
I really like this one. Not only is it permitted and satisfactory to be a different type of human or a different kind of living or extinct animal, it’s also okay to be a tiny invertebrate, even a blood-sucking, annoying and seemingly pointless tick.
Mostafa realises that every living being has a role in this world and his inclusiveness is indeed exemplary.
The next question is where exactly are those ticks? They could be feasting on a green dog, but I have the suspicion that Mostafa was inspired by Tago’s piece, and they are in fact sucking the blood of a dinosaur.
What we can deduce from this magnificent work is that it’s okay to be a disease-carrying arachnid irritating the scaly skin of a large, terrifying but non-existent reptile. We’re not all the same, but I think we can agree that Mostafa wins!