Color & Culture Workshop Pt 2 – Observing how our surroundings can change the meaning of a colour

Therese Heng · 98 ·

In our second session, the members physically drew on paper instead. Parents were asked to help print the handouts and prepare their “seeing tools” (a red circle and square) beforehand.

Once again, they were asked to imagine what the shapes could be, besides a red circle and square, when placed in different scenarios. Holding the shape in one hand and their red colour pencil in the other, they drew and wrote down what they imagined.

As reiterated in the past workshop, the Candoshi culture have no words for colour and view color based on the environment and setting that they are in. So by using the handy tools that the members made themselves, they were tasked to imagine different things to explain the colour red, by mimicing how colour, when placed in different scenes, become different from what we usually know!

When they were stuck, they were prompted to try different locations within the scenarios. For example, “What about in the sky, on the table or under the bed?”. These open ended questions helped them to craft their thinking to observe other interactions within the scenes.

Drawing down on paper was definitely a better medium! The children were more expressive with what they drew. One even had a storyline for a scene! Although it didn’t match the colour and shape of the tool, it was great seeing that they had fun.

After each scenario, we had a show-and-tell! Even though each of them had the same scene and tool, everyone imagined different things!There was never “no more” or “there’s nothing”, because there is always something if you look hard enough and the members really did see something in everything 😉

For the last activity, they were tasked to bring the tool out of the different scenes but into their actual home! They had 15mins to take as many pictures of what they could imagine the tool to be around their house and they later share what they found.

Ang Ku Kueh
Logo on a fan
Door Stopper
Sign on the wall

These were some of the things they found! It was nice to see them hunting for what else a red square or circle can be. The workshop wrapped up with a short reflection session.


All in all, it was amazing to see from the eyes of the members and to be able to see that they really used their imagination to steer a new way of seeing and labelling color. Them taking their observations out of the context of the activity into their own home also really helps to refine their new found thinking of understanding how our surroundings can change the meaning of a colour and it was great fun to see them realising that 🙂