- Identify colors, shapes, patterns, art media, metaphoric meaning of artwork etc.
- Let them decipher artworks thorugh active looking and critical thinking.
- Find personal or cultural associations to artworks.
- Make points of reference that other viewers can refer to as well.
- Come up with simple logical answers to seemingly dense artworks.
After the tours, we headed towards meeting room and tour plans were made for upcoming exhbibits and "name-the-turtle" game was announced. Next we met surprise visitor-"Santa Claus", who handed admirable presents to everyone and wished us all Merry Xmas. As I was taking quick notes at a corner table, I wondered why don't people in the outside world tune-in to frequency of these people atleast once in a while!
'New Danforth Docents'
Speaking of these people, this team at Danforth comprises of people who in real world have diverse opinions in matters of religion, politics, science, economy, human rights etc. but elements common in them are-willingness to learn new things, utmost respect for each other, open-mindedness, amazing critical thinking ability and a deep rooted passion for ART!
While the media and society urges us to spend phenomenal amount of time buying presents, decorate our homes from outside and overload ourselves in never ending holiday obligations in this festive season, here are these people who carry true festive spirit in their hearts, get together for celebrations, crack few jokes, shower each other with generosity & goodwill and cheerfully give community gift of personal time! No wonder why some of feel a magnetic pull towards Art galleries and museums :D
On behalf of all the new docents, my sincere thanks to Julia, Judith, Lee, Ellen, Doreen and Danforth for developing our perceptual skills, listening skills & visual vocabularies and for being inspiring mentors!
"After a half-century of hard work and reflection the wall is still there."~Henri Matisse
Thanks to VTS training at Danforth, I asked myself right away-"What makes you say that?". Is it the use of cool colors?, Is it the hatched pattern in the sweater?, Is it the expression on lady's face?, Is it the marked outline of flowers?, Do you associate a past experience with this pattern? And bingo-that was it. The floral pattern reminded me instantly of an arrangement by a master floral artist, who I met at Gorakhpur while I was in India earlier this year. This mental association happened in split seconds-I don't know how or why but I was certainly intrigued to the core.
Upon reaching home, as I took my journal out-an overwhelming flood of memories comprising of my QA session with this floral artist rushed past me in rapid succession. I collected my toughts and decided to pen down the interesting story of this floral artist and share the same here.
In real world, this floral artist has a tough engineering job, a caring family and like rest of us he faces usual set of challenges. But come lunar month of Bhaadra (Many Indians consider this month auspicious and celebrate goddess Radha's birthday), no matter in which part of India he is residing in, he rushes towards Gorakhpur to do his floral magic (localites call it Shringar) and he has been doing this fascinating exercise since 1974! I observed him closely for couple of hours & I could positively conclude that in this case motivation wasn't tied to related to money/fame or any materialistic gain.
I was so impressed with this floral pattern he created on that memorable night 26-AUG-2009 and more specifically with his style that I ended up asking him a plethora of questions. Some of the QAs (translated into English) are as under:
Q> How do you envision what pattern you are going to draw?
Q> I heard that this floral decoration takes around 4 to 6 hours to complete. Why do you spend so much of energy knowing the fact that this pattern of flowers will last for not more than few hours?
[Slide Show - Floral Design]
Q> ED (Gulp!) -Oh yes I had that course in my 1st year but I assumed that only architects use it on a regular basis. Anyways moving on (pls don't ask me those esoteric ED concepts :)) - what are the materials you use for this decorative pattern?
A> Well - it's usually leaves and flowers. I prefer gulmohar leaves and petals of flowers such as marigold, rajnigandha, jasmine, sadabahar, champa (plumeria), red roses etc. I used to go pick them up myself two decades ago but I get them from local flower sellers these days.
Q> Why flowers and not the electronic lamp lights or any modern media for decoration?
Q> Awesome!! You mean flowers are like universal messengers of emotions?
I hope to visit India in the month of भाद्रपद sometime again to see him do his floral artistry, which I can best describe as an "Organic marvel of flowers & leaves and joy & delight"!
A friend from India sent me an email today with the following statistics (Source UNAIDS):
(a) Currently ~33.4 million people are living with HIV worldwide.
(b) Of this about 31.3 million are adults and 2.1 million children under 15.
(c) Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the US gets infected with HIV.
While these numbers certainly look disturbing but the bigger question is whether as individuals can we do something to help? Plenty of things I'd say:
- Share Inspiring Stories like this.
- Support Grassroot Campaigns like this.
- Spread AIDS Awareness in your family and in the community your live in. link
- Get creative and put a Red Ribbon on your T-shirt/Blog today.