Once every fall we hold a Family Art Lab devoted to the beloved elephant-headed deity, Ganesh (also known as Ganesha or Ganapati). Ganesh is not only popular among Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain communities, but is also famous among many cultures throughout the world. Perhaps it’s his unique characteristics and the interesting stories surrounding him that make him so popular, or maybe it’s his great wisdom and ability to “remove obstacles”. There are many reasons why he is so well loved – a fact made very clear from our sold-out Parade for Ganesh Family Art Lab.
We began the afternoon in the Museum at the large Dancing Ganesh sculpture in the Spiral Lobby. Children and adults all seem to be attracted to this artwork for its large size and Ganesh’s joyful appearance. Here I told families the story of how Ganesh got his elephant head. This was also the site of the first of many difficult questions asked by our youngest participants. “But…how did his mom make the clay alive?” – A question followed by many more questions, highlighting their great curiosity.
We continued our Ganesh-themed gallery exploration upstairs in the Masterworks exhibition where I told the families stories of Shiva and Parvati (Ganesh’s parents) and how Ganesh broke one of his tusks – a story that always gets a few laughs. A few of the children eagerly shared their own versions of the story and, as an educator, I always welcome the opportunity to reciprocate in the learning process.
After the tour, we returned to the art studio to create our own miniature Ganesh shrines. We used clay to sculpt Ganesh’s body and cardboard to construct the bases. The bases were decorated in everything from shiny metallic paper to dried flower petals to glitter…lots and lots of glitter.
One of my favorite parts about working with families is watching the intergenerational collaboration that inevitably becomes a part of the process. From our oldest to our youngest Family Art Lab participants – everyone takes part in the art-making.
Here are a few of the finished works of art.
Notice the creative addition of the mouse in this one!
It was such a fun day and I cannot wait until October’s Nepali Paper Making Family Art Lab. During this lab, we will explore the newest Rubin exhibition, Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India and his works on handmade paper and then tear and mix recycled paper, fibers, flowers, herbs, and spices to make our own sheets of handmade paper.
See you in October!