Visual Language

2019 Exhibition Dates

In 2014, I became a high school art teacher at Washington High School in Sioux Falls South Dakota, which has a very high population of immigrants, refugees, and students who qualify as English language learners. Teaching students who struggle to understand the language spoken in the classroom poses a challenge for both teachers and students, but in the visual arts department we are automatically gifted with another set of language skills.

Visual language, the ability to communicate through imagery, has changed the education world. Teachers in all educational realms are using visual aids to connect information to experiences in order to make lessons more relevant and friendly to those who struggle to read, speak, or understand English.

The need for this visual language, not just for English language learners, but for all students who do not have a mode of expression, began to unveil itself quickly as the offer to speak visually was presented. As an example, each year I create "life mandalas" with my students. The patterns, colors, and designs they incorporate all represent their stories, personalities, and preferences. As the students begin to build their mandalas, we practice writing explanations and justifications. Many students have a very small word pool to pull from, but with the visual aid, I am able to understand what they mean.

With visual language, I am granted access into the lives of my students. Something I learned through this assignment is that there are a few students who have a made up birthday of January 1, with a year that is a good guess, simply because they needed a date of birth the day they came into the United States. Some of those students looked like they were 8 years old, and they very well may have been. Imagine that difference in mental maturity with a parachute that is too small to hold the weight of their lack of language skills, struggles with American social skills, trauma in war ridden countries, and years in refugee camps.

My show, "Visual Language", is inspired by resilience, joy despite pain and sorrow, and last, but not least, the stories that have been shared through visual language. 

My students, their parents, and we teachers need your help. The first 75 people to donate to the Center for New Americans and send your name, mailing address, and photo of confirmation of donation, to mollielage@mslfstudio.com via message box on main page will receive a free mini print of "Old Enough", "Our Inadequate Safeties", or "Blown Away". Thank you so much for considering others this Christmas season!

 
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Our Inadequate Safeties

36x36
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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Blown Away

36 x 36
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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Old Enough

36x36
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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Over an Ocean

24x24
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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Mountain Majesty

24x24
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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By Land and Sea

24x24
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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Make a Way

24x24
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 
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Through the Depths

24x24
Acrylic and Charcoal on Birch Board
2018
NFS

 

Exhibition at Dunn Bros Coffee

March 2019

5320 East Arrowhead Parkway, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 57110

Exhibition at Coffea Roasterie

December 5, 2019 - March 2020

Downtown Location
200 S Phillips Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Exhibition at the Museum of Visual Materials 

September and October 2019

500 N Main Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 

 

Originals will be available for purchase at the end of the 2019 exhibition season. Prints are available at any time, but if you'd like to see the original that your piece came from and all of the sister paintings that were created with your print, the places and times will be coming soon!

 

605-351-8879

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