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What are the visual arts about?

Tell a story.

Honor craft.

Be illogical.

Embrace paradox.

Entice excitement.

Be delightful.

Craft your content.

Care intensely.

Frank Chimero

Connections: Who are the visual arts for?

Visual arts are for all people of Aotearoa who view, consume, or produce images and objects of visual culture. Visual culture includes all images and artefacts that shape our worlds and existence.

Visual arts are for students interested in making meaning from images or from objects from diverse contexts produced by themselves and others.

Students in the visual arts are explorers, critiquers, and inventors who give form to knowledge and experience.

Purpose: Why study the visual arts?

The world is saturated by visual imagery.

The visual arts provide forms of communication that inform where we have come from and how this has shaped our current place in the world.

By engaging in the visual arts, students assimilate, create, produce, and respond critically through visual communication (in all its forms) and contribute to the process of social and cultural development.

Visual communication is one of the most essential ways of communicating and interpreting our identity as individuals, groups, or communities and how we interact with each other, the group, or the community and world we live in.

Visual arts connect mind, heart, body, and spirit as students learn to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and actions in the development and creation of visual art works.

Through studying and making art works, students respond to and make sense of themselves and their community, their society, and the world in new and different ways.

Students become reflective thinkers within the creative process, able to formulate problems and apply inquiry to generate new knowledge and or understandings.

Through the process of generation, critique, synthesis, and production, students develop skills transferable to other areas of their lives and knowledge that informs critical analysis and invention.

Through applied research and practice within the visual arts, students investigate and challenge established ways of art making in New Zealand and/or internationally and generate new responses and processes. They gain confidence in their questioning and research skills and in their ability to synthesise complex and diverse information.

Learners in the visual arts become productive contributors to and informed commentators within local, national, and global communities particularly through exhibitions of their work, collaborations, and interactions with audiences.

They understand, interpret, and communicate the meanings and values of visual symbols from Aotearoa, the Pacific, and beyond.

Knowledge: What is valued knowledge in the visual arts?

The visual arts include:

  • design
  • painting
  • photography
  • printmaking
  • sculpture.

They share common approaches to creative problem-solving.

They each require and develop discrete thinking skills, aesthetic concepts, and means of production.

The range of fields (and the chance to work in multiple fields) provides students with opportunities to develop two- and three-dimensional, time-based, conceptual, and practical understandings.

For example, students may manipulate spatial abstractions on a flat surface within a three-dimensional context, such as an installation, or may use time-based media, such as stop-motion animation.

As researchers and makers, students in the visual arts inquire into traditional and contemporary practices in Aotearoa and beyond to learn about pictorial and thematic ideas and art-making technologies.

Through practical investigations, students transform knowledge and understanding into creative, critical, and innovative production.

They experiment with old and new technologies and gain skills in traditional and contemporary approaches to craft and art making.

As reflective practitioners, learners in the visual arts explore and develop personal, cultural, and social identities through investigations of art works and their social cultural contexts.

They seek and make meaning of and give visual expression to their own and others’ identities through the production of a body of work.

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Last updated April 23, 2012