The grade 3, 4 and 5 students of Naramata Elementary School have had the unique opportunity of working with past year under the direction and guidance of Nikos Theodosakis who along with Theo's Restaurant have developed the InStill Life program. The InStill Life program invites students to change the world through their own increased awareness of where their food comes from, their community and art.
At the start of the school year, each student was first asked to look at the role that food plays in their homes, community and around the planet and choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. This followed by the students exploring how food has been used as a source of inspiration by artists throughout history by looking at numerous examples of still life paintings. The students were then asked to bring their favorite fruits and vegetables into a display. These displays were the subject for the paintings which make up this exhibition. After the paintings were completed a meal was created using the gathered fruits and vegetables.
The resulting still life paintings have been reproduced as a series of gift cards which feature the artwork on one side and a photo and bio of the student artist on the back. The intent is to sell the cards as part of a fundraiser with the proceeds going towards the micro-lending programs organized through www.kiva.org. Kiva is an organization which has taken off over the past few years enabling individuals from around the world to participate in a micro-lending program to provide entrepreneurs in developing countries the resources to become self sufficient. Using the funds raised, the students will research family farmers and small scale food entrepreneurs who are looking for a loan through the Kiva website and collectively examine their loan request before collectively issuing repayable loans. The students can then follow the progress of their loan through the Kiva website and see their money in action.
Over the course of this pilot project Nikos had also developed an interactive classroom game which illustrates the principals of micro lending and has documented the process through a video tape which he hopes will encourage additional schools to take up this challenge. This exhibit will feature all the aspects of this creative approach to curriculum and the Penticton Art Gallery is excited to be able to share the fruits of their labour. With luck, this program will find additional partners and continues to inspire our youth to look at their place in global economy and take a more holistic approach to marrying art, science, technology and business for the betterment of all be locally or internationally. For more information on this program please follow their journey online at www.oliveus.ca