image Will You be Profitable, Little Friend?

Will You be Profitable, Little Friend?

Challenging art for Religious Education teacher professional development.

Background:
“The painting “Will You Be Profitable, Little Friend?” from 1972, by the Swedish artist Peter Tillberg, might be considered as one of the most famous and perhaps loved post-1968 art works in Sweden. It depicts an ordinary school class, from, what it looks like, an ordinary
place. In a realistic manner Tillberg has chosen a frontal perspective from the position of the teacher, and it is the teacher that seems to ask the question in the title.” -http://www.alexandervaindorf.com/works/w_u_4.htm Alexandder Vainsdorf has created a video installation that revisits the painting.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What mood is conveyed?
  2. When have you seen those expressions before?
  3. Do you identify with any particular student? Explain.
  4. How does the title of the painting affect its meaning?
  5. What other title could you create for this piece?
  6. The chairs are invisible. What do make of this?
  7. This painting was created as a critique of Swedish education in the 1970’s. Is it still relevant?
  8. If you were to recreate a work to depict Ontario Catholic classrooms today, what would be some of its features?
  9. What insights have you drawn from exploring this work?

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