Body Language – an Alphabet Story

The art and text activities that Juliana and I have led throughout our Alphabet Stories project have come to take some beautiful and surprising twists. We originally conceived a variety of drawing and poetry exercises to create the content for our South Hill library installation. But then, we became inspired by the hand-tattoed maps which the South Vancouver Youth Centre students created for our “We Are Here” project. So, we chose to expand upon our engagement tools by incorporating activities that used the hands and body. The images above document adults, from the Library Book Club and ESL group, shaping various Roman letters with their hands.

Additionally, through a process of inquiry, we asked each of our workshop groups to brainstorm a collection of words that best represented the spirit of our installation. Then, each group voted on the most resonant words. As Alphabet Stories aims to reflect the colorful array of languages present in the South Hill community, the following poignant words emerged as the winners: peace, spice, and symbol. Consequently, students from the Khalsa school tattooed these words on their palms, (with temporary markers) in Punjabi letters, to summarize what this project means to the Sunset community.

And finally, these industrious students had fun shaping some of the Punjabi letters with their own full body, creative choreography.   These young artists demonstrated great imagination and cooperation in this collaborative effort.