Sugar Skull Project

By: Alston Jenkins

Alston Jenkins Artist Statement

My project is based of a type of folk art called a sugar skull. Folk art is a type of art that is created by unskilled crafts people of a certain culture, and has an identified meaning. The sugar skull derives from that of Mexican culture, and made specifically for the holiday known as The Day of The Dead. On this day people celebrate and remember all of those who have passed away. The sugar skulls are used to remember specific family members or friends. In this project I used the sugar skull to commemorate my heritage as an Indian(Native American).

The inspiration for my project came from me, since am an Indian. I am 1/16th Lumbee Indian. I have attended Powwows and other such tribal celebrations to that I could get a feel for my heritage. So now that I know about my tribe, I incorporated elements of their lifestyle into my project. I also added some details that pertained to me in my project as well.

In order to do the sugar skull I had to paper mache the form of a skull. Using aluminum foil I pressed against a model of a skull and used a flour, glue, water mixture to paper mache newspaper onto my aluminum foil form. After it hardened I painted both my paper mache skull and my cardboard background white as a primer. Then I was given primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and white in order to paint my project. I used these four colors to get all the colors I needed by mixing and experimenting to get the best color.

On the skull I painted designs with specific colors patterns to symbolize the facepaint Indians used to wear. The paw on the bottom right side of the skull represents the importance of animals in Indian culture. In my background I put a bow and arrow, a river, a teepee, and a totem pole. These are all components that emphasize Indian heritage.. My project consists of aspects of my heritage and me personally.

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