TAC Summer Camp: Week 2!

Last week TAC campers visited the National Museum of the American Indian to see their new show, Native Fashion Now. This show explores the co-existence and duality of modern haute couture and modern street wear with elements of Native American cultural identity. The show examines the socio-political facets of traditional Native American fashion and how it is inevitably changing in a modernizing world. TAC campers each made a piece inspired by common themes that are often emphasized in Native American communities, such as the importance of animals, the harmony of contrasts, as well as the use of significant colors.

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The National Museum of the American Indian is a space dedicated to promulgating better understanding and knowledge of the Native cultures in the Western Hemisphere. In the museum, the kids saw many old artifacts and sculptures from different native groups such as the Mayans. Many campers were fascinated at the interesting shapes and construction of the vases, bowls, and portraits. They eagerly sketched them in their handmade sketch books as well as wrote down small facts they learned about the artifacts. The kids also saw traditional native garments, weavings, and jewelry that helped them understand the real highlight of the trip, the fashion pieces! They oohed and ahhed at these high-fashion garments.

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As a response to the museum, the kids were asked to think about the common Native American themes they saw in the artwork. For their particular project, they were assigned to create something that incorporates the use of their power colors, animals, and the positive against the negative. Weavers made a weaving with painted warp and dissolvable interfacing to create little windows in their weavings, providing a contrast being opaque and transparent. They also wove with their power colors – colors that feel really represent themselves. The surface designers played with painting silk and cut out silhouettes of animals that they feel connected to or feel like resemble their character.

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5/6 year olds painting feathers for their mobile

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Weavers weaving with their power colors
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5/6 year olds print with  found stencils

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Weavers explore warp painting

At the end of the week, the kids made new friendships and amazing artworks. Through silhouetted mobiles and intricately designed weavings, TAC campers learned a lot about Native American values and visual aesthetics that inspired them in their artworks and in their lives.

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Below is an artist statement by one camper, Oren:

“My spirit animal is a wolf. I put it inside of the black material. My spirit animal is a wolf because they love the outdoors, spend a lot of time with their family, and run around a lot. I think I do a lot of those things. I also made 2 silk paintings. I made my silk paintings with lots of dots and sharp vibrant colors. In one of them I did more red, oranges, and yellows. In the other I had more dots and more of green, blue, and yellow. The last thing I made was painted feathers. One of them was red and black and yellow, and it made me think of an Indian headdress. The others were all different colors and mostly just dots. All my pieces are attached to a rod, and they are hanging down from it.”   -Oren

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Oren’s piece

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