‘Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy’ Western Gallery Exhibition Opens Jan. 9

The Western Gallery will present the “Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy” exhibition, which will bring together an international group of artists who ask radical questions about the nature and significance of education in contemporary society.

The exhibition, which is Jan. 9 to March 17, 2018, is based on collaborations of prominent artists, scientists and educators and includes works of art, scientific and educational experiments, and archival material.  An opening reception will be Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018.

Works by Luis Camnitzer (Germany/Uruguay); James Duignan (Chicago); Priscila Fernandes (Portugal); Michael Joaquin Grey (New York); Ane Hjort Guttu (Norway); Markus Kayser (Germany); Eva Koťátková (Czech Republic); James Mollison (Kenya/Italy); Palle Nielsen (Denmark); and Petr Nikl (Czech Republic) are included in the exhibition.

The exhibition demonstrates that art, science, education and democracy are historically interdependent. Rooted in the Age of the Enlightenment and an industrialized society, the present educational system also bears the institutional heritage of discipline and control. In reaction to this, reformist movements such as progressive and radical pedagogy have advanced the ideas of freedom and equality and with them the role of art and creativity.

The aim is not only to draw attention to the vital role of education and to the challenges of reform, but also to introduce new perspectives on learning and creativity with potential new educational models in mind.            

The curator of the exhibition, Jaroslav Anděl, Ph.D., is an independent curator and author of over 40 books on contemporary art. He was artistic director of the DOX Center for Contemporary Art in Prague from 2009 – 2014.

“By asking radical questions, art becomes a radical pedagogy which transcends institutional boundaries and inspires mind-changing narratives,” Anděl said.

This is the third phase of the project. It was initiated in 2015 at the Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland, when Hafthor Yngvason, now director of the Western Gallery, was director of the Reykjavik Art Museum. It was next presented in a new form at Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway in 2017.

The exhibition is part of the “Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy,” a project throughout the academic year focused on the junctions of art and education that will include a partnership with the Bellingham School District, Western Gallery art exhibition, a summit with international and local artists, and a Black History Month summit with national artists, performers and participatory workshops. For more information, see: https://westerntoday.wwu.edu/news/releases/back-to-sandbox-art-as-radical-pedagogy-project-includes-wwu-art-exhibitions-art.