That sun… sitting among those stripes of a blue sky. This is one of my favorite flags in the world! It’s because it is so familiar, it is something we all know and appreciate greatly: a sunny day! Now let’s take a look at it and what it all means:
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the light blue symbolizes the color worn by Argentine patriots on their uniforms when the Spanish viceroy in Buenos Aires yielded authority to the local government in 1810. This first striped flag was hoisted on Feb. 12, 1812, by Gen. Manuel Belgrano. The sun, referred as “El Sol de Mayo” (May’s sun) was added later in Feb. 25, 1818, making reference to the sun that shone through the clouds on that fateful day in 1810. On Aug. 16, 1985, permission was granted to private citizens to fly the version that incorporates the Sun of May in the centre, a right previously restricted to the government and military.
This post is partly work for my school too! ( I am an elementary Spanish teacher and we are studying Argentina this year. This is why I chose Argentina purposely!). Very soon a colleague and are expected to decorate the reception area of the school for the month of March. I wanted to come with an art project where all students could participate and could potentially end up being a mural.
While thinking and researching of all things that I culturally know about Argentina, the image of the sun in their flag kept coming back… I thought about various sun related art projects and this is what I ended up doing…
I decided to have every ten kids or so create a sun together. This would yield 24 suns that could be displayed checkers board style. I would use scrapbook sized paper 12 x 12″. Some would be over that sky blue and others over white. But how? What would each kid do? Well they would each get to make their own ray of sunshine! And help with a feature for the face fo the sun too.
I also wished to give this project more depth from the artistic point of view and somehow relate it to Argentina. I remembered a project I liked in an art book I purchased recently*. The author, Susan Evenson was inspired by Kazimir Malevich, an Ukranian artist who was a pioneer in painting in an abstract way. Her project invited one to “Harmonize on a line”… by placing shapes in a balanced way along a line. I loved this idea! I could see potential in this becoming a ray of sunshine:
I researched Argentinian artists that also painted in an abstract way and I found so many! One that I really liked was Tomás Maldonado.
Born in Argentina in 1922, Tomás Maldonado was a painter, philosopher and an industrial designer. Early in his career he was involved in the Argentinian Avant Garde movement and created his own art group: “AACI” that stands for Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención. Their first exhibition’s catalogue included a statement declaring their intentions, motives and views, titled the ” “Inventionist Manifesto.” It called for artists to “invent” their own images, rather than trying to copy what they see.
Later in life he was a professor at the Ulm School of Design in Germany. There he served as both Rector and Pro-Rector. He was the lead contributor to the “ULM Model” orienting design towards systems-thinking to attain a balance between science and design and between theory and practice.
This is he and some of his work:
So then I started cutting out all sorts of different shapes in various sizes and colors. Then the fun began:
I worked on making 10 rays:
I used glue sticks for this project. I have to remind my students to place the glue on the piece they are doing and not the background… for better final aesthetic!
I also wrote things on the rays in Spanish related to the sun or why I’m thankful to the sun. The one above says brillo, this means bright. Bellow on the sailboat it says Día de playa meaning Day in the beach:
Yes, I did some figurative rays too… ! Don’t be angry Mr. Maldonado! Then when I had all 10 rays I assembled it:
And here is the final piece! This took about two hours to make! Two very! fun hours!
I will update this post when I have completed this project with my students! Can’t wait to do it! ^ ^
*This project was partly inspired by a book called Drawing Calm by Susan Evenson. You can enjoy her beautiful art HERE. Thank you so much Susan, I love your book!