Wanted in Rome Junior

Maya Ballumbrosio (aged 11) from St George's British International School Nomentana, writes about her Year 6 poetry and art projects with ARTandSEEK.

One of the most exciting activities that happened in Year 6 this year was an art workshop run by ARTandSEEK, (who run museum tours and workshops for children in English) in conjunction with the Keats Shelley House. Two art historians (Viviana and Isadora), came to give us a lesson every Wednesday for three weeks about poetry and art. We learnt about different poets, saw portraits of them, made our own artwork and wrote our own poems. Year 5 joined us for the lessons and both classes enjoyed it enormously.

On the first week we learnt about Percy Shelley. They showed us a picture of him when he was young, and then a portrait of him when he was older. The class said he looked pensive and that it looked like he had been painted when he was thinking. The ladies showed us a carving in wood of a woman with long hair and a man. They asked us what words came into our heads when we looked at the picture. People said things like sadness, love, darkness, spiral etc.… The teachers put us in groups that we would be working in for the following weeks. They told us to choose three words or more from the list we made and make a poem using them in our groups. Our group did a poem called Sad Love:

We were surrounded by darkness.

It was like a dream, unreal.

I was face to face with love.

But slowly sadness was creeping upon me,

Because I knew it wouldn't last.

The second week was quite exciting because the director of the Keats Shelley House (Giuseppe Albano) came to see our work and he looked impressed! At the end of the session we found out that if we continued all our good work he would display it in the Keats Shelley House.

We learnt about Lord Byron that week. They showed us a picture of him and they asked us what we thought he looked like, to guess his personality and character just by looking at his portrait. They told us that he had travelled a lot, and in each new place he went to, he tried to fit in with the people there by wearing their clothes. We read his poem When we two parted and then we saw a modern video for the old poem. They gave us each a photocopy of the original manuscript of When we two parted that is in the Keats Shelley House. They told us that he had asked Mary Shelley to rewrite his manuscripts because she had neat handwriting. Since Lord Byron’s handwriting was so messy, Mary Shelley didn’t understand all of his words, so she wrote other words in their places.

Lord Byron
Lord Byron

The ladies showed us a visual poem done by an Italian futurist which was about war. They told us to do our own visual poem, and they said we could cut out words from the poem and from magazines that we all brought in. We could also cut out pictures and write phrases or words.

They showed us a portrait of a boy with a poem on top of it. The poem was about him, his personality and his character. We wrote our own poem by swapping a photo or drawing of ourselves that we needed to bring in with someone else in the class, and write a poem about them. I did a poem on a girl in my class which goes like this:

The girl who you can trust.

The one, who is always ready to help you,

Who you can always count on,

To be there for you.

Her radiant smile lights up the world,

Her golden hair glistens in the sun.

Her blue eyes can see into your soul,

And her kind words can heal any deep cut.

Giulia, the special girl,

Who is filled with happiness and joy,

Who is always beside you in hard times,

And who makes the sun shine.

On the third week we learnt about Mary Shelley and about Frankenstein. They showed us the first episode in a season of a television series about Frankenstein. They gave us an extract of the book and told us to write a poem based on one of its sentences. We went round the room listening to each other’s poems.

Frankenstein collage inspired by Mary Shelley.
Frankenstein collage inspired by Mary Shelley.

They split us up in three groups and they told us what we had to do. The ladies had drawn a Frankenstein with a border. One group had to do Frankenstein and use materials and paper to fill in his clothes and colour him in. Another group had to use materials to decorate the border and the third group had to fill the background with words. The groups all did their jobs and when we put all three together it looked good.

We heard that it was official, the poetry and artwork that we did in all three sessions would be displayed in the Keats Shelley House. How cool was that! On Saturday 7 May the Keats Shelley House displayed our artwork in a small room. We came to see the exhibition with our parents and our class teachers, Miss Kida and Miss Montanucci.

There were some snacks and a television showing some photos of us drawing and us writing our poems.

It was an awesome experience!!!!

St George's British International School Nomentana.
St George's British International School Nomentana.

Wanted in Rome is accepting contributions from students in all international schools in Rome. Articles on topics related to either the student's life in Rome or their school projects can be submitted by their class teachers. The work should be no more than 1,000 words and all contributions should contain the name, age and school of the student. We also accept illustrations. Any class teachers who would like to propose a project please contact editorial@wantedinrome.com.

ARTandSEEK organises English-language visits to museums and exhibitions for children in Rome. For details tel. 331 / 5524440, email artandseekforkids@gmail.com, or see website.