Food and Feasts, Heroes and Heroines! Tales from the Studio

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Monday 27 August 2012
Andrea Gaskin

We have just completed a great four weeks in the studio, with the 6-8 year olds exploring food and feasting in art, and the 9-12 year olds looking at the way artists portray heroes and heroines.

After a mouth-watering brainstorm about feasts and the types of food the children like at parties, we experimented with sculptural techniques including object design, cardboard construction and papier mache. We had conversations about the many ways artists have explored food in art – from religious and historic feastsstill life paintings, artworks about food production, as well as artists that use food as a raw material (like Richard Maloy’s butter painting in Toi Aotearoa).

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Gallery educator Selina offering some different portrayals of food in art

We also managed a visit to the Auckland Art Gallery café to discuss the art of cake decoration! Using paint and mixed media the children decorated their party food objects, and invited their families to our party on the last day.

The 9-12 year olds looked at a number of works of heroes in the Gallery (including William Theed’s busts of Roman gods and goddesses and Juan de Juanes’ painting of Saint Catherine of Alexandria) to explore posture, body language and expression, and the way artists use symbols to provide clues about the work.

After brainstorming our ideas of what makes somebody a hero, the children used sculptural techniques to construct a hero personal to them, using wire, foil, plaster and paint. Heroes ranged from skateboarders, Mark Todd, grandfathers, superheroes and priests. Their pieces were photographed against a watercolour background to provide a setting for the character. The results were outstanding, and all parents (and gallery staff) were impressed with the works! Great work everyone!

Bookings are open for our next four-week studio classes which begin on Sunday 2 September. The 6-8 year olds are exploring artists’ interpretations of landscapes, and the 9-12 year olds will be looking at the way animals are used as symbols for characters and emotions.