Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rose Petals

From the Smithsonian website
An Ofrenda for Dolores del Rio
Amalia Mesa-Bains, 1984, revised 1991
mixed media installation including plywood, mirrors,
fabric, framed photographs, found objects, dried flowers, and glitter
We went on a field trip to the American Art Museum in Washington DC to view Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. The exhibit featured some stunning and thought-provoking works. Some of my favorites were the layered graphite on panels, Nocturnal (Horizon Line) Teresita Fern√°ndez and the marble and granite shipping pallets by Jesse Amado and of course, the two featured in this post.

The children were asked to document their favorite works at the end of the tour. I sent those home at the end of the field trip, so the opportunity for my reflection flew home with them, but we know that the exhibit had an impact because of conversations (with words and with materials) that have rolled out since then.

"Oh, you mean the painting with the red airplanes," one of the children said when I talked about how they would be working on their portrait backgrounds and asked them to remember the blue backgrounds which looked like the swirling of planets and stars in space or the whole of the colors of the earth, spinning. At first, I did not know what the child was referring to because I had been so focused on finding acrylics in blue, gold, and other shiny objects!

From the Smithsonian website
 The Dominican York, from the series Island of Many Gods
Scherezade Garcia, 2006
acrylic, charcoal, ink, and sequins on paper
And then there were the rose petals.

Each year, my husband brings me a dozen roses to the school for our anniversary in December. As the roses dry out, I harvest the petals and take them outside to the playground. This year, I put them in one of the wooden heart bowls my friend Kierna Corr of Learning for Life gave me. The bowl and the petals sat on a shelf and were forgotten. After the field trip, they found a new purpose surely inspired by Mesa-Bains' Ofrenda work!

The children check out the Ofrendo installation. They were so
careful to step around the rose petals on the floor.




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