Tia Jane in Brazil

Welcome to the blog of designer/illustrator Jane Archer and www.psbella.com!

In March of 2011, I volunteered (through a fabulous volunteer organization called Cross Cultural Solutions), in a community school in Alagados, one of the poorest favelas in Salvador, Brazil. The name “Alagados” translates to “flooded.” Many of the homes there are built on stilts on the water and easily flood and collapse with too much rain. With roughly 6 weeks of Portugese language lessons under my belt,  I taught art to a class of 3 and 4 year-old children and assisted their teachers in providing basics the kids were not guaranteed at home: regular meals and running water/bath. I also drew what I experienced every single day. I will never forget my time there.

I have just put up an installation of my paintings/mixed media art inspired by this experience–now up through June 22 in the window of  the Brooklyn Design Lab, where I teach after-school arts courses to K-2 kids in Park Slope.  Many of the students I worked with in Brazil live surrounded by trash, and many of the adults in the community make the little money they have by collecting recycling.  I created the art in this show using gouache paint, scrap paper and other materials that one normally might think of as trash. I found, in putting this together just how valuable the tiniest scraps were in creating important details in my compositions–a flip-flop, a ruffle on a shirt, a bowl of rice and beans–depictions of things these people barely have in real life.

This show is dedicated to all of my amazing students in Brazil and in Brooklyn.

Check it out if you are in the area!

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