HOPE – The sixth grade hallway at Beryl Henry Elementary School has the feel of the ancient Valley of the Kings as the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council Arts in Education program brings Egyptian tomb art to campus.
Artist in Residence Mary Sanders-Overton directed students in Stephanie Smelley’s sixth grade class in the production of personal sarcophagus art and the writing of tomb scrolls in an extensively intricate project.
“After discussing the curriculum currently being taught in the classroom, I would create an art project best suited to enhance the student understanding of the subject matter,” Overton explained.
An accomplished multi-disciplinary artist and architectural student while at the University of Arkansas, Sanders-Overton has been a part of the Arts in Education program for almost a decade. She was a 2014 winner of the Arkansas Department of Education Excellence in Education Award, and her work is closely aligned with the Common Core Standards which have been taught in Arkansas.
The BHE project required each student to learn how to replicate ancient Egyptian tomb art and to inscribe their name in the hieroglyphic language of that culture on the life-sized pattern art which depicts that student. After adding color schemes, each design is theoretically suited as a pattern for an actual sarcophagus cover.
Sanders-Overton said she emphasized attention to realistic detail not only to have the students understand the personal nature of Egyptian tomb art, but also to have them understand the artistic techniques used anciently to reproduce the exceptionally realistic representations which lend historical understanding to who the subjects were and how they looked in life.
Sanders-Overton’s work at BHE, sponsored through the SWAAC, was underwritten by the Arkansas Arts Council of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.