The Heschel Gallery: Form Communicates Meaning & We Were All at Har Sinai

The Heschel Gallery: Form Communicates Meaning & We Were All at Har Sinai

Oct 22, 2021

The Heschel Gallery is a new Heschel Hive column that will appear at the end of every rotation throughout the year. It will feature students’ artwork with an explanation of the project by Morah Lisa for context. This will be a wonderful way to be able to appreciate the diversity and beauty of the students’ creations!


We have had a busy start to the year in the art room! Students in Grades 5 and 7 have completed their first rotation of the year. They have learned and accomplished so much already!

Grade 7 students focused on how we can use form to communicate meaning, especially when interpreting and expressing ideas.

To put this learning into action, each student created a painting that illustrates one line from the Unetana Tokef piyyut, part of the Yom Kippur liturgy, which they study in Language Arts.

Students learned from their artist-in-residence, Mark Rothko, drawing inspiration from his minimal, colour-based canvasses, as they expressed their unique interpretations of the piyyut.

Students began by selecting one of the lines of the poem; for example: “who shall be at peace and who pursued”?

They stretched their thinking to consider how colour can reflect or express a feeling, asking themselves: “What is the colour of feeling at peace?” Thus, they thought beyond the literal, using colour to convey their own interpretation of the word “peace.”

 

Students drew upon their colour-mixing skills, developed in Grades 5 and 6, mixing sophisticated colours to reflect their personal interpretation of the two “sides” of their chosen piyyut line.

They layered colours to add depth to their work, seeing evidence of lower layers peeking through.

Students also considered what proportions to use to create their compositions. Would the two sides of their paintings be balanced or imbalanced? Would they include a fraction of one piyyut line and the majority of the other? Again, this encouraged students to think about how form can be used to convey personal interpretation of a text.

Next, students moved on to the final stage of the project. Inspired by Picasso’s minimalist sketches of a bull, they added a shofar to their work to reflect their understanding of its metaphorical shapes, which they are studying in Talmud class.

Students considered: Will my shofar be curved and introspective or look ahead to the future? How will the type of shofar I add “temper God’s severe decree” that I illustrate through colour and proportion?


For their first art rotation, Grade 5 students focused on expressing our experience of having all been together at Har Sinai. We began the year by creating a group mural of our shared experience at Har Sinai.

Then, each student received a piece of the puzzle, onto which they drew their own perspective of what they saw/felt/experienced.

Students then visualized, read, and analyzed the text of Sefer Shemot, Perek 19, 16-19.

They selected words that resonated with their experience and created paintings to reflect how they felt at Har Sinai.

Students stretched their colour-mixing skills and learned how to apply paint in innovative ways.

Their artwork reflects their risk-taking, creativity, and dedication to their work.