Students will use colored vanilla pudding to get a hands-on understanding of how Moyo Ogundipe layers and etches paint.
Intended Age GroupEarly childhood (ages 3-5)
Length of LessonOne 25—30 minute lesson
Standards AreaVisual Arts
Students will be able to:
- name at least three colors in the painting and three colors used to tint the pudding;
- describe at least one observation they made while etching their images;
- (older students) explain what happens when you mix blue and red (or yellow and blue) together; and
- (older students) explain the process of spreading a thick medium and then using a tool to etch images within it.
- Have the wax paper or aluminum foil taped to the tables. Ensure students have enough space for their own piece. Also have all but three cups of the pudding tinted.
- Show the students the Moyo Ogundipe’s painting Soliloquy: Life’s Fragile Fictions. Ask them to name some of the colors they see. Talk about how they think the artist created the images they see on the painting.
- With the students watching (and perhaps having volunteers), add red food coloring to one of the cups of pudding and mix until tinted a dark pinkish-red. Do the same with blue food coloring and another cup of pudding. Have students name the colors. Finally, put both red and blue food coloring into the third cup of pudding. Ask students what color they think it will be. Mix the colors and have them name the color.
- Tell students you will be making a painting that they will enjoy for a short while but will throw away because it is made with food. You just want them to have fun making the painting.
- Have students use paint brushes to spread the pudding on their wax paper. Help them spread the pudding so it is thick enough to etch in images, but not too thick. They should share the colors and put more than one color on different sections, perhaps even layering some colors (especially for older students).
- One cup of vanilla pudding (or soy pudding, depending on allergies) for every student
- Food coloring to tint each cup of pudding a different color
- One 11” x 14” or 11” x 17” piece of wax paper taped to a table for each student
- One 2–3” foam paintbrush for each student
- Popsicle sticks or other age-appropriate tool to etch images into the pudding
- About the Art section on Moyo Ogundipe’s Soliloquy: Life’s Fragile Fictions
- One color photocopy of the painting for every four students, or the ability to project the image onto a wall or screen
- Visual Arts
- Invent and Discover to Create
- Observe and Learn to Comprehend
- Relate and Connect to Transfer
- Language Arts
- Oral Expression and Listening
About the Art
Who Made It?
Moyo Ogundipe was born in Nigeria in 1948, of Yoruba heritage, and lived there until the 1980s when he fled the country’s military dictatorship. He moved to Denver in 2002, where he lived for six years before recently returning to Nigeria. He spent part of his time in Colorado as an adjunct instructor of painting and drawing at the University of Colorado at Denver. Moyo graduated from the University of Ife in Nigeria with a B.A. in Fine Art and Education, and received his M.A. in Studio Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been shown extensively in Nigeria and in U.S. museums including the Denver Art Museum, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Maryland Museum of African Art, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.
"It is futile to classify me as a Yoruba, African, or Nigerian artist,” says Ogundipe. “I am a human being. I am an artist who happens to express myself in the mode of painting. I paint the intense mystery and beauty of this world, the symphony of life, from the atomistic to the cosmic, the perfect orchestration of the universe—this is what artists do, whether European, American, or Asian. We try as human beings to express the deepest joys and sorrows, the feelings and the emotions of this harmony."
What Inspired It?
Ogundipe paints in the rich tradition of the Yoruba culture of Nigeria, but uses Western materials such as acrylic and oil. Because his father was a teacher, Moyo grew up living in Christian school compounds that were surrounded by African villages. Living in an environment with both Western and African influences, he gained what he calls a “hybrid experience.” He says, “I have tried to find a synthesis among my training, my exposure to the art of other people, and the diversified beauty of my own indigenous traditions. I am striving to produce an art that is a genuine reflection of me, as well as a universal statement.”
"My colors are African, free, full, unrestrained, vibrant,” says Ogundipe. The explosion of color on the canvas is similar to the explosion of color that surrounds a masquerade; or the saturation of color found in the marketplaces—rural and urban landscapes of Ogundipe’s native Africa.
Ogundipe applies paint to the canvas, then carves into the paint [by etching] to create the textured pattern of the background. He finds inspiration in textile designs, Yoruba carving, and body paint (detail on right taken from the body of the woman). “I belong to a school that we cal onaism. Ona is a Yoruba word that means decoration or embellishment,” says Ogundipe.
“There is considerable improvisation,” says Ogundipe. “There is the element of jazz, of musicality. I repeat a lot of things to generate rhythm. At first I was worried that I repeated things so many times. That I should be more innovative. But then I discovered that there is a rhythm where there is repetition. Repetition is easy on the eye and draws you into the picture. It is predictable, yet it may also surprise you.”
The horse and rider are homage to Africa—they remind us of the iconography of Yoruba carving. Ogundipe pays tribute to the artists/carvers that have come before him by painting, not carving, this horse and rider.
Among the Yoruba, a snake can be symbolic of no beginning and no end. They are mysterious, in part because they live in the ground and have no legs.
“I try to use birds to create magical moments, they are not just mere decorations, birds have meaning, add some text to an overall narration of the image,” says Ogundipe. “Among the Yoruba, a bird is a symbol for freedom, for flying, for power, for majesty.”