Coordinamento n° 3 Scuola dell’infanzia Casa del Bambino School Year 2009-2010 A gallery of self-portraits An educational documentation by Chiara Pertili and Angela Polato Teachers at Casa del Bambino Municipal Nursery School, Ferrara Comune di Ferrara
“ When my hands want to create something, there's just no stopping them. Pablo Picasso
An introduction There is a developmental path in signs and colours that children use to tell about not only the things, but also the people, which surround them. Gradually figuration becomes complete without leaving aside invention: what children draw is the world as they see and imagine it. But what happens when they tell about themselves, when they pause in front of the mirror which makes their first portrait almost real? Discovering one’s face and its features can turn into an exciting game, finding out that we are similar and yet so different to our mates.
It’s about themselves that they start to tell with signs, sometimes related to a primitive caricature. Children “load” those characteristics that seem to belong more to them, and the images – firstly built with the eyes and then with traits and colours – take on increasingly unmistakable similarities. The experience we present here is a little bit about all this: about an identity that took shape in the deep construction of the self, so defined that it can be “played and told”; about the adults who accompanied and supported children; and about children who have explored and surprisingly handled so many forms of narration.
“ My nose is like a triangle because there is a straight thing in the middle, then there are the nostrils where the boogers are. Under my ears there is a “fleshy bit” and my hair is straight. Inside my head there is also my brain where the ideas are. I used paper and I made the brain with all the ideas in many different colours: blue, a bit of gold and other colours. I had a lot of fun making my little bow.
“ I’m nice, I’m a little boy and my eyes are happy because they smile. I built my portrait with clay, I smashed it so much on the table to make a ball that I wedged in the cardboard roll. I put the pebbles around the tube because it was too heavy and it fell down, but with the pebbles it didn’t. The nose and the eyes always fell so I had to glue them.
“ My face is red and sweaty, with drops falling down when I play rugby. When I was copying my image in the mirror I did it “more” better. First I looked then I shut my eyes and imagined how my sculpture was. I used wood, nails, brushes, enamel to fix the colour. I learned how to use the hammer and the nails but above all to make drawings by building creatively with wood.
“ I have a cut on my lips and it hurts. My face is different than Francesca’s because she has got different hair than mine, mine is very long and straight but the fringe is too much on one eye. I liked very much painting the tissue paper on the balloon and gluing my hair so black and straight. I put a nice bow on the hair and a pink veil like the princesses’.
“ My face is round and the eyes are round and tiny. I built it with glue and paper and I put some hair. Then I put the dress with the veil, then beans and then flowers. It’s so nice.
“ My face is round and when it turns it’s crooked. I bended the green iron wire until it became my face. So I learned that, now, if my dad wants to make me do something, I can also use the pliers as I did with Angela.
“ I feel sleepy. My face looks a bit angry, I want long hair. I used brown plasticine and I did the curls with a pencil. I put the crockery fragments we found in the courtyard. It was nice to make my portrait.
“ I have a face that is always smiling and the thing I like the most is the eyes. I used paper and I learned to stick the glitter with glue. I liked working with all these things.
“ When I look at myself I want to burst out laughing because I see my little tooth going a little bit out of my mouth. I liked it very much when we used the hammer, I never do it with my dad because he says that he’s afraid that I smash my finger, but it didn’t happen at school. It was difficult to paint the base because the colour slipped away. I would like to hammer nails every day.
“ We helped David, I gave him the paper bits to make the head and he glued them. “ I helped him to put another layer of glue, he was happy because he loves us. “ Dadi!
“ My face is smiling, it’s happy; I’m a bit reddish on the cheeks and I have red lips. I used glued tissue paper on the balloon to make my face. I had never used a balloon that way, I had just used it at parties.
“ My face in the mirror looks different than this because this is a drawing and that is real. My eyebrows is what I prefer because they are very black. I fixed the chain tiding a white thread. With the hammer I hammered nails for the first time and I liked it. It was hard to fix the hair on the iron wire. I learned to behave like an artist because I used all the arts I like.
“ Between my eyes I have a scar that a baby shark did to me in Morocco, under the water, when I was with my cousin. On top of my mouth I have a line that belongs to my face. There were a lot of things to choose to make my portrait. I used green paper and I wanted the tie because my dad wears it. I liked to be in a closed space while my friends were playing and were coming to see what I was doing.
“ I have a nice forelock that always goes on my eyes. I did it with clay, to make the face I smashed it and it was hard, to make the ponytail I used the garlic-squeezer that I had never used before. The thing I liked the most is that Chiara let me sew with the needle and I sew by myself my tissue handkerchief and the buttons, a blue one and an orange one, the favourite colours of my dad and mum.
“ I have a round face with round eyes and a lot of short hair. I did it with wood and to fix the wood I used the nails and the hammer, and the glue to stick the eyes. I liked a lot using the hammer because I already could do it already, because my dad lets me hammer nails.
“ I have brown eyes and my hair is like nobody has because I have a forelock: the one on the front side is brown and the other, that is behind, is golden and I call it golden-brown. I liked to be on my own working with Chiara, it was hard to hammer the nail to keep the iron wire base fixed to the tablet. It’s nice to work with the iron wire, everything was funny. We made the mouth and I wanted to put a fruit in it.
“ I have an happy face and I like the eyes very much, they are a nice light colour. To build my face I glued tissue paper on the balloon. I really liked putting glitter on the t-shirt and the bow with the ribbon for the forelock.
“ I made myself a smiling mouth because Luigi did something that made me laugh. I liked making my face alone with Chiara because we came up with a nice game. The most difficult thing was to maintain the ball still while I was painting on it.
“ I have long and a bit dark hair. I like ears very much because I can hear sounds and noises through them. I made my face with folded paper, buttons and tissue. In the ear I put the sounds I hear.
“ I smile because my friends always make me laugh. I like my hair because I can always put the hairgrip. I used the iron wire to make the face and I put the eyes first. It was difficult to put the nose, but not the other parts. I couldn’t put the ears because Angela didn’t manage to remove the bridge from the hairgrip I wanted to use and the ears were too big and so I didn’t put them. I liked more to do the hairgrip with the beads and the flower you don’t eat.
I took a brick and around I put something like plasticine and the eyes were in the brick where I wedged two shells with some black on it. I liked the shells so much that I glued them on the fabric. “ On my face there is a mole on one cheek and one on my mouth, and my cheeks are a little bit plump.
I made the one with paper and not with the balloon. I used some black pieces that I cut in the shape of the eyebrows, I did the eyes with a brown round and a black point. I did the mouth with a piece in the middle that seems the tooth, I did it with a piece of paper that really looks like the lips. I found out that the head keeps standing if I glue it on a cardboard. “ I have black and brown eyes, the nose is black in the little holes and then I have red lips and my face is all pink.
“ My hair is really black. I liked to build because we painted, it took me a long time because we had a lot to do and we had to wait for the pieces to dry. I learned how to create things, that means to do nice things.
“ I have a mouth that always smiles because I always play. My face is round and my skin is very white. I blew up a balloon, first I painted it and then covered with paper. It was hard to hammer the iron to make the nose and to bend it but I managed to do it with the hammer. It was easier with the ears because I used two buttons.
“ I feel beautiful because my face is beautiful. I painted my face with a brush. On the table with the buttons on it I found some earrings that I glued to make the eyes. I painted my hairdo and I kept the plaint tight while Chiara was doing it. I put the pompon, my dress and my necklace.
Paper, metal, wood, clay, polystyrene, papier-mâché, tissue, pebbles, shells, beads: we use everything.
The content is intended for educational use only, any different use is banned. The total or partial reproduction is forbidden. With the collaboration of Raccontinfanzia Documentation Centre