Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Studying Hinduism Through Art

In our World Religions class this week, we had as a guest speaker the Interfaith minister Rev. Donna Belt, who specializes in exploring spirituality through art.  She did an exploratory art project with the students that helped them connect parts of Hinduism to their own lives.

We started on the floor, with Donna talking about her own attraction to and study of Hinduism, then heard a version of the famous Hindu story of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god who is the remover of obstacles:

One of the lessons of Ganesh is to focus on possibilities and creative ways to overcome obstacles, rather than focusing on our limitations.  We did a brief mediation on obstacles in our own life, and then moved to an art project on the tables.

Donna gave everyone some watercolor paper with an outline of Ganesh's head on it.  The students were to use not only watercolors, which can flow together in ways we can't control, but also to adapt the watercolors by using them with items that give other unpredictable effects, such as scattering the paint by putting salt on it, adding wrinkles with plastic wrap, or using crayons for wax resist ornamentations.

After the painting was done, we returned to a circle on the floor, and each artist displayed his/her work and explained his/her design and color choices, as well as discussing anything they had discovered about themselves through this process.

They did an excellent join on their paintings, so I wanted to share them below:

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