In 2017 Sydney Creative Play was asked to provide children’s activities for an International Women’s Day event held in Steel Park. While I think the organisers would have been happy if we’d rocked up with some play dough and colouring sheets (both of which we had in abundance) I also can’t resist a good theme.
So we decided to come up with activities based around women artists. There’s such an under-representation of female artists in museums that we felt it was worth a little bit of an art history lesson. We made colouring in sheets depicting each artist with a brief bio about her and her work.
The artists we chose were Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe and Yayoi Kusama. Three women with very different backgrounds and styles.
Frida was the one we suspected would be most recognisable for the kids. We went with these flower crowns because who doesn’t love some wearable art at a festival.
For the Georgia O’Keeffe project we wanted to showcase her water colour style but added a creative re-use twist. Instead of using paints, we had heaps of washable textas and I demonstrated a technique where you could colour in a portion of your sheet (we used some of O’Keeffe’s stylised floral images as well as her famous ramshead skull) and then dip a paint brush in water and drag it over your coloured page to create a water colour effect.
It’s a lot less messy than water colour paints which is good when you’re running an offsite event.
For our Kusama-inspired project we gathered heaps of coloured dot stickers. We weren’t sure what we were going to decorate with them (Kusama famously created the interactive “obliteration room“). But Reverse Garbage who had donated a number of our supplies for the event, happened to have this giant white styrofoam ball, which fit the bill.
Unfortunately it was a very rainy day for the event so not nearly enough kids got to participate as we were hoping, but we had a blast with those who did.
Hopefully we also encouraged people to seek out and learn more about female artists!