Connnecting Our Uniquenesses

August 27, 2022

Quote of the Week

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." -- Walt Whitman

Singularity (after Stephen Hawking)

This week we bring to you a short video where eco-poet Mary Howe recites a poem that she composed in the weeks following Hawkings' passing.

In the poem, Howe reminds us of the interconnectedness between persons and non-persons, of how the planetary orb originated. She takes us into the 'compactness' of our existence, and how our artificially created boundaries breed distances between us. She says, "No I, No We, ..... Only a Tiny Brimming Dot." That our collective singularity is larger than our individual, purely human presence.

Watch here

The video is a labor of love that she and Maria Popova created. It was illustrated by paper collage artist Elena Skoreyko Wagner and featured original music by the Emmy-nominated cellist Zoë Keating. For more on the background story, read this

Reading Corner

Title: The Big Orange Splot
By: Daniel Manus Pinkwater
For: Ages 3 to 7

Written in 1977, this storybook tells the tale of Mr Plumbean whose house is left with a big orange splot when a crane drops a can of paint while flying over. While his neighbors nudge him to repaint the house like the rest on the street, he decides otherwise. He repaints the house to reflect his unique, colorful dreams. Mr. Plumbean's individuality challenges his neighbor's ideas about having a “neat street.” 

All in all, this lyrical classic for children extends lessons on why breaking away from conformity in favor of diverse individual expressions matters. How including different view points and expressions can lead the society to better outcomes. Composed in a visually engaging form, this book also shows how Mr Plumbean spreads this message to turn around the presuppositions of his neighbors.

Find the book here. A read out loud version is here.

Be the Change

Line, Shape, Blob

In this easy to follow artistic activity children will see how differently other individuals imagine even the most commonly used art and geometric forms from our daily lives. More so, that combining these different sensibilities through team work brings out new compositions, new ideas.

This activity comes from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, USA.

Steps to follow: "Invite two other artists in your family / friends / neighbors to work with you to make a series of collaborative drawings. Use colored pencils or markers. Have each person pick a color to use and a form to draw: a line, a shape, or a blob. (Tip: these forms can be as goofy, energetic, or basic as each artist likes). To begin your drawings, ask each person to draw the form they chose on three separate pieces of paper. Then give your sheet of paper to the person next to you so they can add their form to your drawing. Keep passing your sheet of paper to the next person until you have at least two lines, two shapes, and two blobs on each sheet. Compare your finished drawings. How are they similar? How are they different? Choose a title for each drawing."

In creating this art challenge for kids, the Whitney Museum was inspired by Elizabeth Murray's 1978 oil painting titled, Children Meeting. We were equally inspired to use this painting as the feature photo for this newsletter. See above.