Color and Culture – Are there other ways to explore seeing color?

Therese Heng · 53 ·

We grow up seeing colour all around us and we often take for granted that there is only one way to see it. However, did you know that some cultures don’t actually have words for colour? That means they don’t use words like red, blue and yellow. So… how do they see colour then?

In the first run of this workshop that was held Saturday 2nd May, we wanted our members to explore another way of seeing!

In doing so, we got our members exposed to the Candoshi culture’s way of relating colour to their environment. Who are the Candoshi, you ask? They are a Peruvian Tribe and in the workshop, members explored how the Candoshi view color through their eyes! Why them, you ask? Because it’s a brand new way of seeing the world from another person’s perspective and realising that other people don’t actually label colors like how you and I do!

During the workshop, we got the members to creates their own tools by drawing and cutting out a circle and a square to prepare them for the activity.

Similar to the Candoshi culture that view color dependent on their settings and surroundings, we too stimulated the surroundings by using different scenarios that we are used to, namely: the beach, a dining table set-up and a bedroom.

Using the shapes that they cut out, members were asked to imagine and visualise the different things the shapes could be when placed in the three different scenario contexts. They were then asked to draw what they managed to “see” in each scenario.

The first scene was a beach.

After more guidance about how to fill up the scenes, the members became more receptive to drawing. They were also guided on discovering more possibilities of what else could be red and circular, like a beach towel (square) or a carpet (circle).

What is great is that at the beginning of the activity, they identified the red circle as a red dot, as is. However, after engaging in the activity they were able to identify it as a target, or the sun.

For the last activity, they were supposed to try using the tool around their house and to take photos of what they have found. However, due to the lack of time, we were unable to try it out so they were tasked to do it in their own time instead and to come back and share more about what they discovered.

It was great to see that they enjoyed the workshop and were able to see in a different perspective. For the next run on Tuesday, we might try making the experience more tactile by asking them to print out to the scenarios and draw directly on them instead 🙂