NIA, MPC and Sundial School team up in awareness project

NIA, MPC and Sundial School  team up in awareness project

National Institute of Arts (NIA) teachers and art teachers of Sundial School and Milton Peters College (MPC) were taught basic pottery skills in a train-the-trainer session last month. The workshop was facilitated by artist Annemiek van Kerkhof.


PHILIPSBURG--National Institute of Arts (NIA), Milton Peters College (MPC) and Sundial School have teamed up in a dance and ceramics project to raise awareness among local teenagers about slavery, emancipation and the island’s cultural heritage.

For the remainder of this school year, the schools’ second form students in the PBL and PKL streams will take part in activities aimed at teaching them about St. Maarten’s history of slavery and emancipation. This will complement their regular social studies classes, said NIA in a press release on Thursday.

Some of these activities include a guest lecture by St. Maarten Archaeological Center SIMARC about the use of ceramic coal pots, and Ponum dance lessons at NIA.

Last month, artist Annemiek van Kerkhof led a workshop that instructed NIA teachers and MPC and Sundial art teachers in basic pottery skills.

With this knowledge, the art teachers can now guide students in the other part of this project, in which the youngsters will “shape their interpretation of emancipation and breaking free in ceramic objects”, said NIA.

“Some may choose to recreate traditional coal pots or figurines of Ponum dancers, while others may make more abstract objects,” it was stated in the press release.

NIA said it has already ordered a kiln, which is a type of oven used to dry and harden clay pots. This vital piece of pottery-making equipment will be placed at MPC, but will also be available to NIA and Sundial School, it was stated in the press release.

NIA also said it will host a public exhibit of the students’ pottery in June, in the lead up to Emancipation Day on July 1.

This project – which has been termed “Break Free Ceramic Movement” – is financed by the Prins Bernhard Cultural Fund Caribbean and the Dutch Central Bank DNB special fund for addressing the lasting impact of trans-Atlantic slavery.

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