An extension of the Inside Out Project Own Your Journey at Mountainside Secondary 2014-2015, the animation portion- spearheaded by my colleague and dear friend, Ian Powell- engaged students in a deep and meaningful way. Ian chose The Red Tree by Shaun Tan as the vehicle to help students address social and emotional intelligence, self-reflection and empowerment as well as project planning and passion-based learning. Students worked individually or in small groups to interpret and animate each page of the dark and remarkable book:
The Red Tree is a story without any particular narrative; a series of distinct imaginary worlds as self-contained images which invite readers to draw their own meaning in the absence of any written explanation. As a concept, the book is inspired by the impulse of children and adults alike to describe feelings using metaphor – monsters, storms, sunshine, rainbows and so on. Moving beyond cliché, I sought painted images that might further explore the expressive possibilities of this kind of shared imagination, which could be at once strange and familiar. A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey. Shaun Tan – source
Congratulations to all who worked on the piece. Your interpretations are breathtaking and your dedication to the project an inspiration!