In his recent post on our work at the local school in Tacacorí, Seth outlined our papier-mâché and painting ambitions with the third and fourth grades there. 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.
The 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 (see above photo and here).
See how some of the work came along below: