Yayoi Kusama Sculptures

Term: 1 Year: 2018

Year 4 students from Overnewton Anglican Community College have made connections to Asia through their visual arts program and in particular have explored the work of the contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama.

The artist was an intriguing subject to study. Her artistic journey began with roots in formal, historical Japanese culture, yet travelled through the movements of contemporary and the avant-garde. Her existence as an artist is all consuming and her personal resilience finds her still making and exhibiting at age 88.

Our year four students were introduced to this artist by learning about her early Nihonga training using traditional techniques and materials. In time, she developed a curiosity for pattern and shape and painted what were called her Net paintings of meticulous free hand circles covering entire expanses of canvas. We discussed her move in 1957 to New York and the influence of other art movements such as the Abstract expressionist movement and how she began to create other forms of artmaking such as environmental installations and sculpture covered with colourful repetitive patterns and dots. Students loved that from that time on her trademark became her use of dots that obliterated her art forms and even covered her own clothing! She had become Japan’s most famous living contemporary artist and was forever to be known as the celebrated ­Dot Queen of the art world.

We are fortunate that in 2011, the Gallery of Modern Art (Queensland Art Gallery Brisbane) acquired one of Kusama’s 'Flowers that bloom at midnight' sculptures. Our students have referred to these oversized, bright, plastic, floral sculptures to create their clay pieces. This time using the slab and coil techniques, together with colourful combinations of glazing colours.

We’ve loved sharing the story of Yayoi Kusama with our students. It has given them understanding of Asian cultures and their connection to nature and even helped break down preconceptions of what an artist can achieve in old age. 

 

Click here to view the Unit Plan 

Provided by

Overnewton Anglican Community College

Supporting teachers in creative education