The power of visual material

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The power of visual material to spark discussion and interest, and make quick connections through conversation.



Video title: The power of visual material

Esther is sitting in the Sylvia Park School Library and holds up the 'Crook Cook' curiosity card.

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Esther Casey
Sylvia Park School
Mt Wellington, Auckland


So I had this image just lying around this morning here in Te Puna Ngoi, which is our library. And so I had kids of all ages coming in and they, you know, I didn't put a lot around ... a lot of context around it. It was just lying there and so, it was really interesting the way the kids responded because one of the boys came in and he was straight away like: 'Oh — who's that pirate?'

And so we kind of unpacked: 'Why did he think he was a pirate?'

'Oh, he had his pirate hat on and he's got his pirate sword ...'

And so he, you know, opened it up to really talk about: 'He, why ... why is he dressed that way? And: 'What's the story behind that?'

And, you know, it's informal conversations that sometimes really spark off some really great discussion.

And one of the little girls came in and she was giggling because ... he's ... um, his, you know: 'His privates are painted red!' and: 'That's really crazy!' and it was so funny and um, and: 'Someone must be really annoyed with him to do that' ...

And actually, one of the older kids came in and said, 'Oh ...' He, initially he thought that the red was part of the original statue and it was an artwork that was making a statement about this person.

And then ... and then I told him a little bit about what it was about and he said 'Oh ...' his final comment as he walked away was: 'Oh ... blood on his hands ...'

And um, yeah, the power of an image like this to make very quick connections even just through, you know, through really quick conversations is pretty cool.


Photo of the 'Crook Cook' statue.

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Parts of the Captain Cook statue on Gisborne’s Tītīrangi Hill were painted red in 2016. Erected in 1969, the statue is known by locals as the ‘Crook Cook’ statue because it bears little resemblance to Captain Cook. In October 2018, the Gisborne District Council decided to remove the statue.

Video and photo credits:

Curiosity card CC0003

Gisborne Captain Cook statue vandalised with red paint, 2016 by Liam Clayton. The Gisborne Herald. All rights reserved.

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