FROM ORNAMENT TO ADORNMENT:
How to Create Your Cultural Art Piece?
Materials needed :
- Developing skills in visual and digital content making and in visual storytelling
- Rediscovering and reusing skills
- Awake awareness about environmental protection through recycling materials
- Women and/or children with migrant or refugee background
- people with migrant or refugee background.
The local RE-STOR-E workshop of CRN was held with the participation of Kurdish & Turkish ladies between 55 and 75 years old living in Berlin.
To introduce the workshop, it is helpful if the animator has language skills, artistic &
pedagogical skills, and cross cultural knowledge.
In our specific case, it war also important to know how to work with mentally unstable women.
1. Energizing the ladies and to have some fun.
2. Explaining the workshops’ objectives
1. Ice-breaking conversation
about local culture and culture of origin
As an ice-breaking activity, you can initiate a general conversation about the participants home country and its culture.
Questions that you may ask:
What is different in German culture ? What is the same? What is that you like/dislike in each culture?
Afterwords, you can present the workshop's programand the main concepts such as recycling.
2. Museum visit to Pergamon Museum, Berlin
1. Discovering historic culture and its atrefacts,
reconnecting with the artefacts from Turkey and comparing them to the other exhibits in the museum
2. Getting familiar with the museum landscape in Berlin, and the Pergamon Museum in specific.
- Cell phones to take pictures
- Metro tickets
- Museum tickets
To animate the museum visit, it is useful to have language skills, knowledge of the
museum, knowledge of the
artefacts and knowledge of the cultures that are displayed through art.
While visiting the exhibitions, share ideas about what a
museum can do to preserve artefacts.
Concentrate on the ancient artefacts of the region that the participants come from, to connect with them and to see that the city of Berlin has a part of the museum dedicated to their own. cultural background.
In this museum visit, you will explore what is familiar for your target group.
Ask participants to take pictures and videos of the artefacts that speak to them, that have an interesting pattern or color, or remind you of your own culture or childhood.
3. Your home as a museum
1. Documenting esthetic elements, symbols from home
2. linking them to artworks previously discovered.
3. inciting analogical thinking
4. rediscovering elements of visual culture of origin
5. learning skills in concise verbal expression
- Cell phones
It is an individual exercise for which you can let them a few days up to one week.
Ask the participants to walk through ones own home as if it was a museum and rediscover what they own and think about where they bought it, why they bought it and if it
has a connection to their culture.
Ask them to collect objects that have pattern or ornaments connected to their home culture and or to the Berlin culture.
You can also turn the activity into a story-telling exercise by asking the participants to write down in1or 2 sentences in local language or in language of origin:
Where does the picture, objects, ornament come from and how is it related for you to the photos that they took previously?
If accessing one’s home is not possible (due to the workshop taking place in another city or due to time or other reasons) it is possible to either draw from the memory or to start a google search for specific ornaments that one remembers from one’s own home.
4. CREATIVE PHASE
Part 1: Body mapping & Blind portraits
1. Creative ice-breaking
2. Express feeling visually
3. Rethink relationship between body, emotions and souvenirs
4. Introduce playfulness into the activities to prepare creative phase.
- Gray and colourful pencils
60 - 90 minutes
In order to break the seriousness of the first exercise, you can introduce a playful activity into your program, called Body mapping.
Originally, the exercise begins with forming pairs.
One if the two lays down on a huge brown paper in the position he or she wants to.
Then they have to draw the outlines of each others' bodies on the paper and, finally each of them will fill out the outlines of his or her own body with images of objects, words or anything else that are important for them as memories or parts of their identity or goals, desires, etc. connected to a specific body part.
Since the women who participated to our workshop are mostly not feeling well due to illnesses, we decided that we draw a body outline and the women have to fill in that body with their emotions connected to a specific body part, or to let them draw the outlines themselves in a smaller size than in the original version.
It can be an option for any other public who, for different reasons, might be too shy to try out the Body mapping's original version.
You can also add other playful creative exercises to your workshop series, as we did, inspired by the activities proposed by RE-STOR-E and transform them to adapt to your public's needs.
The Blind portrait exercise was inspired by the Collective portrait which consists of sitting in a double circle face to face in pairs. The models sit in the inner circle, the painters in the outer one.
Painters has a paper, a support to draw on, a brush and a previously chosen personal color.
The painters sitting in the outer circle are moving around, so that each of has 3 - 5minutes to draw a detail of each model's portrait.
If you feel that your public wold not feel at ease with this exercise, because of their difficulty to move quickly or any reason, you can transform this exercise into an individual portrait making by adding playful constraints.
As for us, we gave the women the task to draw each other, without looking at the paper.
This method was very joyful for the women because the results were very funny and it lifted the heaviness of the first exercise.
4. CREATIVE PHASE
Part 2: Mixing the foreign and the known
miniature painting with collage technique
The trainer shall be knowledgeable in the artistic methods a trainer who have digital skills in visual content making.
1.Enhancing competences in visual perception
2. Recycling and rediscovering cultural and visual heritage
3. Learning about co-creation, working in group
4. Empowering creative processes and visual education
5. Foster self-expression and satisfaction
6. Enhancing cultural diversity and creating cultural encounters
7. Improving skills in the use of digital tools
8. Acquiring new skills in digital content making
- Acrylic pain, paper, water
- Brushes, pencils
- Pencil sharpener, eraser
- Objects for frottage
- Pictures taken from the museum
- Cell phones
Between 4 and 8 hours:
(from 2 to 4 occasions)
To introduce the co-creative phase to produce our collective artwork, participants were asked to show and present photos they made during the exhibition and at home.
Together we decided to work with paper, acrylic and frottage method for the final product.
We discussed how patterns and ornaments from each culture can be used universally in their own private life and how their cultural mix between the home country and Germany is something unique to themselves.
Try to build a connection through the artefacts in the museum and those that you have at home. Can you find any similarities? What is different? What are patterns/ornaments/colors that followed you throughout your life? Can you connect them to give them a new meaning.
Based on the collection of photos and objects from the museum and from home, participants create their own personalized ornaments. First each participant may work independently on separate papers as, out of these, at the end you will create a collage.
You can use drawing, coloring and painting techniques,
work with colorful pencils or with acrylic paint.
Another idea can be to use the frottage technique. Here one needs an item that leaves an ornamental imprint e.g. a leaf. Take e.g. the leaf and place it under the paper. Now take a pencil and press it onto the paper underneath the leaf. Slowly, by rubbing it, you will recognise the leaf’s imprint on the paper.
With the same technique, you can get the imprint of any other texture with relief.
Afterwords, your individual ornaments created by drawing, painting or frottage technique will be integrated into the collective composition.
In the Berlin workshop, we decided to create a big Miniature painting since it is an art form that comes from the Middle East.
The participants have seen an enlarged version of a page's detail of the manuscript of Shah Tahmasp, an illustrated copy of the Persian epic poem, the Shahnameh created in the 16th century.
We were inspired to draw a similar one.
We co-created the scene to depict and added the missing narrative elements.
There was a twist in the creation of the women : they decided to change the story of the painting by adding a female figure into the painting. Furthermore, the women added ornaments and items from their own home into the painting and personalised it thereby.
Using Iranian or Turkish miniature painting as a source of inspiration is an opportunity to easily co-create visual narrative artworks as the painting themselves are often composed of separate surfaces comprising very different ornaments and colors juxtaposed to each-other.
It is a feature that can guide you to co-create your final composition.
To find the narrative elements for your collective artwork, you can use digital tools as well.
Get a good reproduction of a miniature painting. Take your phone and walk within the image with your camera. You can either film or take pictures in macro mode as in the Material exploring activity. You can also use the the Stop Motion technique to find or to recreate small stories within the painting.
Persian painting is particular apt for this kind of digital. exercise with all the small stories depicted within just one painting.
Check out for instance, with your camera what or who the naked boy behind the window is looking at.
If the workshop's participants has middle-eastern origin it can also be an opportunity to renew with one's culture of origin.
You can emphasize cultural diversity and mutual influence between cultures by using elements coming from different cultures or modernize the patterns or the scenes or the by featuring contemporary issues by the visual narration.
This contextualization of an ancient art form can of course, become source of humor.
Medieval Islamic book paintings can also be inspiring as, just like in the co-creative RE-STOR-E method, these paintings were also co-created and transmit an entirely different vision of artistic creation, interpreted not as an individual but a collective outcome of human creativity.
Here, you can also watch Anja Soeyuenmez's video description about CRN's workshop in Berlin.