Useful Art for Communities

Artivism Workshop by Fae and Antikmuseet collaboration

Use Your Colours: Polychromy Workshop

Many people think of ancient sculpture as white and unpainted when in fact, the ancient world and sculpture was full of many colours. This workshop was based on painting with colour on a plaster cast of your own hand or foot and together, filling the museum of ancient art with our own colours.

  • There is an idea that ancient sculptures are linked to wealth and class. Ancient art is somewhat reserved for scholars or elite people. I wanted to let other people into this museum and help them feel a connection to it. I wanted to encourage people to come into a space that they might not feel is a space for them. Art is for everyone and museums are for everyone.
  • White classical sculptures have been used (especially in America) to fuel far right politics, by using the image of white sculptures as a sign of ‘racial purity’ attached to whiteness. We can knock these ideas down by letting people know that these statues were not white – skin colour or otherwise.
  • It is also important to consider what colours around you inspire you and what you make connections to. E.g. you may be used to colours of houses and design according to the countries you grew up in and it is interesting to think about why you have the taste you have.

Day 1: Workshop about ancient sculpture and how it used to be coloured, showing examples of reconstructions and what sort of colours were used. Discussion about e.g. changing tastes and what makes you like the colours you like/what you are used to in the world around you. Participants will cast their own hand/foot in alginate (funded by Antikmuseet). This takes 3-5 minutes and then they will pour plaster into the mould. (This takes at least a day to set so the next workshop cannot be on the same day.)

Day 2: Participants will come back and take their cast out of the mould. Then they will paint the cast in whichever way they want to express their feelings about colour. We will also have a discussion and they should write down how they feel/what they think/how their perception has changed or not/if they like the colours they are using/why they chose the particular colours. These written feelings will be part of the exhibition with their painted cast in the museum.