Listening to the Wall: Part 1

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In Reconstructing the Lennon Wall, I shared the story of a wall in my classroom that has become a strong tradition of young adults using their voices for something positive.  The wall was created to reflect the spirit of the real Lennon Wall in Prague and over the years it has become a symbol optimism and community.

The idea of recreating a wall of peace quickly evolved into a lesson about freedom of expression and leaving a legacy that hopes for a better future.  Young adults are often classified as rebellious, defiant, hormonal, and aggravating, which they can sometimes be, but who isn’t at one time or another?  They have much more to say the most people think and are far more optimistic than they are given credit.  The voice of a teenager is honest, energetic, and full of promise.  Even those who have had a rough start in life or feel oppressed come to life when given the chance to speak.

I believe in both the Lennon Wall and the voices of my students, which is why I am inspired to share the messages they’ve left behind.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting images of Lennon Wall pieces created by my former students.  It is my hope that their artwork will continue to be a powerful reminder of how beautiful the human voice can be.

This week, I selected some pieces that focus on portraying faces.  Two are literal, while the third attempts to shed light on a group of people fighting for equal rights.

Many students have created portraits of John Lennon, but this one is among my favorites.  It came from a student who sat in the back of the room and loved to express herself with color.  She was very quiet, but her creativity and spirit are quite vibrant!

A student drawing of John Lennon, the core inspiration of the Lennon Wall.

This portrait of Bob Marley was done a by a student who had a deep passion for his music.  Her enthusiasm is quite obvious in her bold drawing!  She created the piece using colored pencils, which is pretty remarkable given the solid texture.  While the silhouette is eye catching, I can’t help but be drawn to the quote she selected.

Bob Marley through the eyes of a talented young adult.

Two students worked together to create a moving message in support of a friend who endured a steady stream of bullying throughout the year.   The pieces fit together to promote unity among all people, regardless of orientation.  Wherever you stand on the issue, it is amazing to see fifteen-year-olds respond in such a powerful way.

Two students express their opinion on the importance of equality.

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c.b.w. 2012