Artymathically Speaking As We STREAM Along - DuPage Children's Museum

Artymathically Speaking As We STREAM Along

July 13, 2022

Artymathically Speaking As We STREAM Along

By Sangeeta Pande, Muralist, Freelance Fine Art Artist, Global Art Teacher

There is a lot of Math in Art… don’t believe me… take a good look around you…notice shapes in the chair you are sitting on, the floor beneath you, the car you drive, the books you read…And then look beyond. Every invention, every creation, and every Warli contains Math. Shapes and sequences appear in Art. Warli is the art I was teaching, breathing, and practicing during my DCM artist residency. Warli art is a narrative in motion using simple geometric forms. Throughout my residency, children and their adults engaged in practices of seeing and thinking geometrically while exploring Warliworld.

Warli art originated in India around the Bronze Age, 3000 BC, how far back was that? We need Math once again to get to the correct answer!

Warli people had no way of preserving their stories; so, they communicated visually on their walls for future generations to read. Relying on memory to recall an incident or creatively reviving one is the foundation of all Warli creation. Harmoniously connecting circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, spirals… insisting on repetition, patterns and symmetry. Warli maximizes the use of congruent triangles, circles, dots, squares, rectangles, lines: straight, dotted, wavy, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, zigzag, crooked, broken, curly and most importantly spiraling ones. Shapes, symmetry, proportion, measurements and swirling motion encourages pattern recognition and spatial reasoning skills. 

Tribal Warli artists are configuration wizards. Enclosed squares represent land. Circular shapes with no beginning and no end represent the sun and the moon. Triangles stand tall like the mountain peaks and the tops of pine trees. Spirals are structured in Tarpa dance sequences where the dancers hold hands facing the musician (out of respect) forming a circle of life representing good energy. Tarpa encourages community bonding, promotes togetherness and never-ending joy. Almost every culture has a circle dance, and rotation is important for children.

While demonstrating the stamping project and doing number counts with the kids, it was amazing to see Math concepts evolve and become the overwhelming subject of art as geometric stamp borders surrounded the calculations!

Warli art is absolutely non-intimidating; children find it very easy to relate to. Inspiration can be found everywhere… how was your day today? Who? What? When? Where? … Pick up a pencil and start connecting the geometrical shapes as you recreate the memory of what you want to preserve.

Many hands moved artymathically through The Studio during my DCM residency, and their artistic creations will be preserved in a mural installation that is hanging in the Museum’s Creativity Connections neighborhood over Shadow Town. This mural depicts scenes from our city, our daily lives, our rural farming past, wildlife, and so much more. Viewers will observe a harmonic community narrative, shaped by common traditions shared across cultures. My hope is that you will look closely to make connections, to identify celebrations, and see shadows of your experience alongside those of the artists who contributed to the mural.


About Sangeeta

Sangeeta Pande is a muralist, freelance fine art artist, global art teacher and a strong proponent of STREAM. Her murals are at several local area schools and enterprises– White Eagle Elementary, Scullen Middle School, Longwood Elementary, Edward Hospital, Naper Settlement, Sabre Hockey and international locations. As a teacher she loves to engage students and lets their enthusiasm and creative brilliance shine in her studio and beyond. She is a world traveler and art collaborator. She loves making connections via art specializing in unity through creativity with the goal of touching as many hearts as possible. She believes in learning together, interconnections and our shared humanity. She is a local Naperville area resident, hiker and dog-lover.