From dancing to acting, to singing and performing, our bodies have been used as a form of expression in one way or other ever since before the concept of art was formed. One of the body's first existence in the art world was that of inspiration - for sculptures that obsessed about capturing the ideal human form in marble and for the paintings that wanted to express the beauty of the body's curves. How and when did we begin to move from the body being art's greatest musings to a valuable tool for making?
Above: Byanca engages in her own performance while her studio mates spectate.
It started from the Performance Art movement where artists began to use the body as a crucial part of the artwork itself, sometimes even including the bodies of the audience, in the live performance. One significant turning point involved an artist who explored the idea of using the human body as a mark-making tool - where the body was slathered with paint and dragged along a large canvas.
Image source: Yves Klein, Anthropometry: Princess Helena,1960
You must be thinking, "That does not sound like it could be art at all!" Well during that period of time, artists were constantly challenging what art was and how art could be made and using the human body as a paintbrush was only one of the explorations they engaged in. In fact, our Wonderkids did a project last year that allowed them to partake in this exploration themselves! Apart from allowing them to learn new ways of artmaking, our little artists learnt how to compose unique abstract works AND formed new perspectives about how their bodies can be used - a wonderful way to reconnect with our physical selves, don't you think?
Above: Alannah wears rubber gloves on her feet as she walks around chopping ring-like shapes onto her canvas with a pole.
Through the project we did with our Wonderkids, we discovered how everyday materials, colours, mediums and scale of the artwork could affect their experience with their own bodies. Below, we have put together 3 unique ways we can reconnect with our bodies - all while exploring the process of creating marks!
THE 3 THINGS YOUR LITTLE ONES NEED TO RECONNECT WITH THEIR BODIES
1) Lay out a large canvas
Above: Clarissa hops around her canvas to create these bright yellow blotches.
This can be made of any material - from fabric to paper - as long as it is big enough for your child to move around on. One of the most liberating ways you can reconnect with your body is by movement and what better way than to mark with colours on a giant canvas!
2) Make use of every finger and toe and apply everyday actions and movements
Above: Sharlynn applies the action of playing the piano - all while having every finger dipped in colour!
By applying everyday actions and movements in this activity, it brings about a new awareness to your child's body - allowing them to become conscious of every twist and turn of their limbs.
3) From coffee paint to acrylic
Prepare an assortment of mediums your child can paint with in different colours and thickness like acrylic paint, poster paint and even coffee paint and notice how they respond differently to the movement of your body!
Now all you have to do this weekend is to put these 3 pointers together to have an engaging time exploring your body AND movement in art!
Get access to more exploratory activities like this by subscribing to our quarterly newsletter, Art Wonders!
About Art Wonders
Art Wonders is a free quarterly e-newsletter and art education resources that was first launched in May 2020. It aims to be an important art education resource in Singapore, featuring insightful articles, interviews, featured collaborations and art education printables. Our main audience include children, parents and art educators and we currently have more than 400 subscribers.
Stacy believes that learning can take place any time, anywhere and with a lot of fun! Dedicated to designing artistic experiences, Stacy wants to provide children with unique ways to discover the world around them.