The kids got a quick lesson on Mexican Milagros and Nichos.
The discussion started with Europeans invading an existing culture. With them, they brought their religion, Catholicism. Objects such as statues, alters, incense and gold were introduced to the native people. What happened was a little influence rubbed off on the natives, but a little native culture remained too. Nichos were influenced by Catholic alters, but generally depicted local traditions. Somehow even pop-culture made its way into these works. From there, these little pop-alters were considered more folk-art than religious icons.
I asked the kids if they were to encounter Roman Catholic alters and not know much about their significance, how would they make an alter of their own? What would be important to them? What would they fill it with? I told them for me, I’d choose my pet. Mi gato Willow. I made a Nicho depicting my kitty cat because I love her and she brings me joy.
They were each given a cigar box and two giant tables of tons and tons of materials. I also showed them how to create some aspects in 3-D. This is what they came up with:
I accidentally started the pet theme, but some diverged. Oh and there was GLITTER EVERYWHERE!!! By far this was the most involved project. I assigned this the first day and allowed them to add to it for the rest of the week whenever they had free time. I think they all came out with something significant to themselves. I know I was pretty stoked to bring my own home ;)