Being an Art Detective

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links:

Arts Award Discover & Explore - identifying a range of art forms and actively participating in discussion of artistic work

KS2 Art & Design - Colour - Starting Points; Portraits - Self-portraits; Shape and Space

KS3 Art & Design - Artists; Fine Art - Painting; 2-D Design - Composition

KS2 Citizenship -Living in a Diverse World - Diversity

KS2 English - Speaking and Listening - Group discussion

KS3 English - Speaking and Listening - Explore, analyse, imagine

Aims of resource:

To assist pupils to investigate and explore the work of different artists; to develop enquiry skills and conceptual understanding; and to challenge the stereotypes of what an artist is.

Learning objectives:

- Knowledge of the work of different artists and the decision

- Understanding of the role of the artist

- Skills to analyse the ideas behind the composition of artworks

Additional activity ideas:

  • Storytelling: Helios is a person in an old Greek story. In the story Helios is god of the sun and every morning he rides his chariot across the sky and makes the sun shine. Gillian Ayers is telling the Greek story of Helios in her painting using colour and shape.
    - Tell a story of your own in an artwork or make an artwork about a story you already know.
    - Think about what you have learnt from investigating Gillian Ayres artwork and the way she has used shape and colour.
    - Print the A5 Artspace card

  • Interpreting stereotypes:

    These activities have been designed to challenge social stereotypes pupils may have, emphasising that many of their ideas about people have been built on stereotypes that they each hold about different people in society.

    Ask pupils to think about how their ideas about what it means to be an artist have changed since they have become an 'art detective'.
    - What is an artist?
    - Is an artist male or female?
    - Where do artists work?
    - What tools and materials do they use?

    Ask pupils to draw their idea of what an artist looks like and discuss the results as a class.
    - How do the pictures differ?
    - Are there any stereotypes about artists in these pictures?
    - How truthful are they?
    - Why do we have stereotypes?
    - How can we avoid stereotyping people?

    (Download the Challenging Stereotypes worksheet for further activities on examining the stereotypes surrounding artists)

View other relevant My Learning resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.

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