Daily activity 50: Yayoi Kusama

May 29, 2020

This week’s theme:

Mysterious People: Inspirational Women

Fact of the day:

Yayoi Kusama is a 91 year old Japanese artist who is well-known for her repeating dot patterns. She is still making and exhibiting art and is Japan’s most prominent contemporary artist.

Resources list:

Dot mark maker, paint/pens, paper; household dots and circles; playdoh/clay/plasticine; pen and paper; youtube; mirrors, paint, cardboard box; bright and/or spotty clothes!

Activity 1:

Yayoi’s work regularly features dots. Grab a bingo dabber, felt tip, round stickers, round paintbrush, cotton bud dipped in paint, paint on fingertips, anything that can use to make a spot, and fill a page all the way to all edges with different dots. Cram in as many as you can – big dots , little dots, and colourful dots! If you’ve used paint you can repeat your pattern and double up your dots by folding your paper in half and transferring your wet dots onto the other half of the page.

Activity 2:

Go on a dot hunt at your house – how many spots, circles, and dots can you find hidden in everyday objects? If there’s any that you can bring to a tabletop (plates, toiletries tub lids, selotape rolls, etc) try and fill the table with your dots!

Share your dotty artwork with us on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send it to melanie@purplepatcharts.org and we’ll put it online for you!

Activity 3:

Yayoi loves pumpkins and has made some amazing pumpkin sculptures.  If you have any playdoh, clay, salt dough or plasticine try making some pumpkin shapes of your own, you can then stick a pen end into them to cover them with dot impressions!

If you don’t have anything to model with, try drawing a simple pumpkin shape (or downloading a shape to print out) and cover the whole thing with dots! Try making it black and yellow to resemble the real thing!

Activity 4:

Have a dance and sing to this Polkadot song. Try some of the actions to this song about making dot marks.

Activity 5:

Watch this short clip of Yayoi’s ‘Infinity Mirrors’ art installations (caution, there are some flashing images) in which she fills rooms with mirrors to duplicate and reflect the amount of dots that you can see. Using a couple of mirrors, hold up your art work from activity 1 and see if you can see double, and then triple the amount of dots once you reflect them in mirrors held at each side of the artwork.

Or, flip a cardboard box on its side to create a ‘room’, fill the room with paint dots on the walls, floor and ceiling. Try placing a mirror or two on the ‘wall’ of your cardboard box room – how many dots can you see reflected?

Activity 6:

For the past 43 years Yayoi has lived voluntarily in a mental health hospital, she leaves to go to work in her art studio and then returns to the hospital. Making art is good for her mental health and she believes in the importance of finding things to do that are good for your wellbeing.

Try doing something good for your wellbeing, such as having a Friday Funday Dance-off to these songs.

Activity 7:

Yayoi has a very distinctive style and has almost turned herself, through her clothes, into one of her works of art. Try dressing like Yayoi by wearing bold, colourful or patterned items of clothing, something red on your head, and anything dotty. Send us photos of yourself dressed as her!