Sud Academy has not changed since my last visit. In fact the only noticeable change in the past 2 years is that the same smiling happy students have grown up! It was such a thrill to be reunited with this special group of Sundanese refugees who spent the past 2 days of their school holidays with Necessary Arts. Although a smaller group in comparison to the past 2 sites we have worked, they were just as enthusiastic and ready to learn.

We started off with art activities. I asked the students to draw their principal George and all of the students brought their very own style. Some mirrored my demonstration, but most brought their own style to the drawing. The students at this school do not take art so today was a novelty. It was evident by the academic work which still remained on the blackboard that a fairly high level of English being taught here, which both surprised and impressed me.

After the portraits of George were complete, we did continuous line drawings and the students were happy to take a risk.

The results were fantastic.

The final art project involved students writing their name in graffiti styled text and they filled in the letters with colors using a variety of donated materials. They then filled the remainder of the page with words and illustrations of their own power, keeping in the theme of “The Power of You!” We exhibited all the work on the board. This lead well into the drama activities with Naima and Zack taking lead. A little shy at first, the students soon picked up on the different drama activities and enjoyed the afternoon. It was really exciting to hear about their dreams: to be a journalist, a DJ, a football player, to run a marathon…

When the sun returned after a night of rain, we were able to go outside and play a variety of games in the same space where we held our very first workshop. The sunshine also brought more participants. I was so excited to see Aleu, who presented me with his personal sketchbook from home. The illustrations are beautiful and depict his family and animals.

After I looked at his book, we spent time discussing different drawing techniques that he can use to advance his work. He then drew a man and a giraffe. I asked him to use the art materials we donated to Sud to run art classes with the students at the academy and to share his talents with others.

We finished the session by taking group photos that mirrored the ones we took back in August 2015 and compared them. The boys at Sud Academy towered over me then and they tower over me still!