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Celebrating Birds (and Aristotle?) in Tacacorí, Costa Rica

2014 September 26
by Seth Inman and James Zainaldin


img_20140724_080707_933About fifteen minutes downhill from Xandari by foot, the primary school at Tacacorí serves first through sixth graders from the local community. Xandari has collaborated with the school on multiple occasions in the past, and also regularly cares for their grounds (mowing the lawn, etc.). This semester, third and fourth graders don’t have an art class in their normal schedule, so it seemed a perfect opportunity for James and me to go over and do a week-long art project with the kids.
Of course, I stuck with what I know best for art projects with young children, and decided upon papier-mâché and painting on little cardboard canvases, just like I had done in the James and I went to the third and fourth grade classes during their Spanish classes and for about an hour and twenty Galápagos a couple years ago. minutes each a day we showed them how to use newspaper, glue, and a balloon to create the body of a bird. Then, with recycled cardboard from Xandari, we gave them canvases to paint on as well as the materials to make beaks, wings, tails, and feet for the birds.camerazoom-20140724081539629

It’s hard to take photos when your hands are covered with watery glue or bright paint, but James and I used our phones to snap some pictures of the kids’ creations to share here.


The second half of the week, Seth and I were split up because of the kids’ conflicting class schedules. I took fourth grade on the last few days, and he worked with third grade.
In his Poetics, Aristotle elaborates an aesthetic theory partly on the basis of μίμησις (mimēsis), or “imitation.” According to Aristotle, humans are “mimetic” beings, that is, disposed to imitate nature and other human beings. Art’s basis is precisely in the imitation of the world around us, of events and things both serious and comic. Imitation is pleasurable for human beings, Aristotle says, because as a kind of learning it satisfies our natural curiosity and desire for knowledge.

upload_zps8445763eThe kids at Tacacorí corroborated Aristotle’s observations in two ways: first, by showing their great enjoyment and enthusiasm at imitating nature (vis-à-vis birds); second, by showing their natural tendency to imitate whatever kind of exemplar Seth or I put up on the board. For this reason, the birds that the kids painted and worked on in the last couple of days tended to diverge. Penguins came up in my class for some reason, probably because of the shape of some of the balloons, so a fair majority of the fourth grade class ended up working on penguins.

Check out the wonderful photo gallery bellow!

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