Creative Phase Activities
Techniques & Tutorials

COLLECTIVE PORTRAITS

Objectives

1. Reflection on how people see us and how we construct our identity from reflections of others
2. Deliberate creativity
3. Collective creation

Time frame


45 minutes, dépending on the size of the group: 30 minutes of drawing for 10 - 12 participants + 15 minutes discussion

Material needed

A4 sized thick paper (for aquarelle or acrylic paint)
Paints or colored crayons
Brushes, water
Plastic cups for paint and water
Something one can paint or draw on it (can be a bigger format book)
A gong or a bell, something you can give a soft sound that signs the change

Tips

This exercice can be very useful if the aim is to question our frontiers, our capacity to touch and to  transform other's creation. It can be also used as an ice-breaking activity to introduce co-creation.

Beside all the alternatives to drawing and painting that we propose, you can also work with brushes and paint in a playful way. Drawing a portrait collectively, not at the same time but by adding new elements one after the other, also raises interesting questions concerning how we are related to each others‘ work and how we can add our personal touch to a space already marked by someone else.

1. Ask your group to form two circles with equal number of people in it, an inner and an outer circle. Bring chairs and sit down, one person from the inner circle should face one from the outer. The inner circle are the muses, the outer are the painters.

Those who sit in the outer circle, will make collective portraits about the inner circle, that means that every artist in the outer circle will contribute to every portrait, so they don't have to worry if they are not the best in painting, "you are a team!!"

2. Every painter should have a paper and something to paint on, a brush and a pain (the best is if the participants can choose from the different colors of pains). You should give a sign to start (saying start, or ring a bell, etc), and after 1 minute give a sign to stop, say goodbye to the muse, leave the portrait on the chair, bring the brush and the paint and move on to the next chair, on the left side. Repeat this until the painters go a full circle. At the beginning call attention for the collective creation, one doesn't have to finish the whole portrait, just choose one part from it and focus on painting that detail, at the end the painters should finish the unfinished parts.


3. Change roles and repeat the process, so that everyone has a portrait at the end.

4. The last painter shall paint the name of the depicted muse's name on the painting.

5. Make a collective exhibition on the wall or in the middle of a circle of chairs, where everyone can wander around and see the portraits.

6. Sit in a circle and discuss how the creation was for the group, what was challenging, what was surprising and what this process remembered them of regarding identity and roles, presence and communication in society.