Visual Art – Understanding Identity

Neha G  Utmani is a Visual art facilitator who believes in teaching children to create an everlasting impact. She has a rich experience of several years in working with children.
This post was published on her blog: and is made available here, with her kind permission.
The session plan below is structured and facilitated by Neha G Utmani – Visual Art and Art Appreciation facilitator for EY, PYP, and MS at Trio World School Bangalore
Neha G Utmani
Using art as a tool facilitating Children to learn about themselves and construct their own identity within the context of community.
What is Identity?
Identity is not fixed. It is shaped by experiences. When children have positive experiences they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected and feel a sense of belonging. However, relationships become the foundation for the construction of identity – ‘who I am’, ‘how I belong’ and ‘what is my influence?’
In early childhood settings children develop a sense of belonging when they feel accepted, develop attachments and trust those that care for them. As children are developing their sense of identity, they explore different aspects of it (physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive), through their play and their relationships. When children feel accepted they feel safe, secure and supported and grow in confidence becoming explorers and learners
Session focus: Physical and Emotional Identity
Warm up: Introducing each other and making each other feel special ( you are special activity)
Main activity: students were given a portrait template and the session started with a discussion
What is this template all about?
So this is a face?
Whose face it could be?
Why do say I don’t know/ it is no one’s face!?
If you want to make this template/sketch look like it is you, what would you do?
When the group arrived at “you need to work on the details” / “you need to add eyes, ears, nose, and mouth only then it will resemble me!.” move to the next level.
I facilitated this session for PYP and Middle school children focusing on identity in different levels
Level-1 Focus and instruction: focus on realism for the little once, as physical identity is very strong in them (I wouldn’t want to initiate the concept of abstraction); it is best to work on skin as skin concept, feel the texture of oil pastels make this blank face look like you, if you have forgotten how you look, let’s try to remember how we look by feeling our face (feel your forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, nose, lips, ears, neck feel your hair remember the kind of haircut you have) now draw eyes, nose, mouth, hair – to make the blank face look like your face.
Level-2 Focus: understanding favorite color, feeling the texture of oil pastels,
Instructions :
Color the face with your favorite, (do not add eyes nose and mouth) just work on the hair
Level-3 Middle school grade 7and 8
Focus: Physical and emotional you
Students were asked the following questions what is art to you? Students write down their responses on post-its and stick it on the Art Room door.
Most of the students arrived at the conclusion that art is painting, drawing, singing, dancing, feeling, emotion, expression! I then asked if art is an expression and what if we don’t know how to draw/paint/sing/dance/write,? we don’t express? Then most of them said no we still express we talk and express, we express with our body language. We then worked on the main activity.
Main activity:
 Instructions given :
“Close your eyes and experience your physical you by gently feeling your face, keeping your eyes closed to focus on the qualities you have, what kind of person are you! Use the blank template to work on what makes you who you are”.
This session was interesting for me as well, witnessing the student explore and understand them self.
 I thank Mr. Vinod Singh, Ms. Hema Narayanan and Ms. Talia Nicholas for giving me this opportunity.
Below are the photographs to the session.
Template given to the students
 Students of grade 7and 8 write their response on what is Art
Art room door
Students working

Art work by clariss student of Grade-1A

Artwork by Raqhib, student of Grade-2A
Artwork by a student of Grade-3
Artwork by Madhu, student of Grade-7
Artwork by Achille , student of Grade-7
Artwork by Yashu, student of Grade-7


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