Nov 7, 2014

Hokusai's Great Wave

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa image via wikipedia.
This project was given to my grade 6 and 7 students recently as part of our focus on Japanese art. Students learn Japanese at my school so I've been trying to introduce a big helping of Japanese art this year. I discussed with students the work of the great Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849) whose woodblock print 'The Great Wave Off Kanagawa' is arguably the most recognized piece of Japanese art. 
Commonly called simply 'The Great Wave', this print has been entwined in pop culture for nearly 200 years. One only has to google 'great wave hokusai' and you will find yourself bombarded with this famous image reproduced for murals, tattoos, iphone covers and t-shirts. My students were also impressed to learn that 'The Great Wave' was the inspiration for the logo of our beloved Australian surf brand Quiksilver. 
Students were asked to create their own interpretation of Hokusai's famous image using any medium of their choosing. I was very surprised, not only by their ability to reproduce what I considered to be quite a complex image but by the clever, witty and adventurous way many students tackled this project, which has definitely been one of the highlights of the teaching year for me.
Collage using marbled paper
The Great Wave - as a diorama.
A particularly surreal approach.
The Great Wave that sank the Titanic
The Great Wave - inspired by Aborginal dot painting


  1. Anne - I LOVE the variety of interpretations (the eagle and the sinking Titanic are amazing)!!

  2. I like that you gave the students the freedom to use the image as inspiration to create their own personal artwork. I find when you provide the resources and support for your students and give them the freedom to make the work their own, they create some amazing things, and this illustrates that!


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