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Leila Awada: how teaching and her artwork inspire Lincoln learners
Fifteen years teaching at Lincoln and a lifetime dedicated to art. Now Leila presents her latest piece: “The pause in the gesture”, a concept developed with two colleagues.
A teacher. An artist. Overall, an inspiring, creative, and hungry learner. That is Leila Awada, our middle school Art Teacher. When you see her showing her artwork or when you attend one of her classes, you will witness the magic in the making. Recently she presented her latest piece at the valkgallery_. “The pause in the gesture” is a series of paintings, developed with two colleagues Aida Pippo and Kip Artist, that express gestures through brushstrokes and the use of color.
After studying fine arts, Leila graduated to become a teacher. She then moved to the USA to work at a non-governmental organization in San Francisco, California. When she returned to Argentina, she started working at Lincoln. Now, with 15 years in this community, Leila shares her experience balancing her artwork and her role as a teacher.
Group of paintings done with acrylics on paper, created by Leila Awada.
Two professions, one life
Besides having an epic written-in-the-stars love for art, she also cultivates a passion for interlinking everything, merging and experimenting with the outcomes. “I love the idea of the fusion between all disciplines, music, film, dance, theater, visual arts, poetry. Nowadays the possibilities are endless,” she explained.
I combine my art with teaching because it gives me a balance. - Leila Awada
That habit seems to appear in all aspects of her life: “I always needed to have a place for my work, which feeds back into teaching.” She added: “There is always freshness of doing without so much fuss. The spontaneity with which some kids solve their work gives me a kick to think about my work.”
In a written portfolio, Leila’s cut
DT: Why did you decide to participate in the art exhibition at the valkgallery_?
LA: I was invited to participate in the exhibition by the owner of the art gallery. My work and the work of the other two artists work very well together. We have a language in common and share the idea of "gesture" in our work. That is why the name of the exhibit is "The pause in the gesture".
DT: What do you want to communicate with your art?
LA: I believe that once the piece is finished, it is open to multiple interpretations. I like to think that the art piece has its own life after I am done working on it. I can say that I love open endings.
The more avenues I open, the better. That flexibility, that dynamic, that creative mindset in the classroom, and my art, are linked. - Leila Awada
DT: How has it been for you to be a teacher at Lincoln in Argentina?
LA: Lincoln is and has been an amazing learning experience for me in multiple ways, as a teacher and a human being. I am constantly learning from the students and my colleagues.
DT: You mentioned teaching stimulates your art and vice versa. In which way?
LA: I combine my art with teaching because it gives me a balance. I learn a lot from watching my students when they try new techniques and take risks in their art making, and the joy many of them have when they express themselves. I try to learn from those aspects and take them back to my studio. In the same way, I try to give them the confidence to find their voice and ways of expression. I encourage them to truthfully find ways to communicate through their work.
I get inspired as I do. Many sixth and seventh graders tell me that they don't know how to draw or that it's hard for them. So opening paths and possibilities, with trial and error… That's how inspiration comes out. It’s linked to the two disciplines.
DT: How would you describe a Lincoln learner? Or a Lincoln artist?
LA: A Lincoln learner is curious, ready to take on challenges, open-minded, empathic, and aware of the people and world around them. In class, although everyone has the same activity, the subjectivity of each student is very important. Each carries out the work according to their interests, where they are from, and who they are. It is rare to have similar work in the same activity. I make a huge effort to open ways for them to find their voice, both visually and verbally, because with their sketchbook they also write about their work when they finish. And that's linked to my art because the more avenues I open, the better. That flexibility, that dynamic, that creative mindset in the classroom, and my art, are linked. I feel very privileged to be part of this community.