'WHATEVER YOU WANT', A PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN EXHIBIT EXPLORING THE IDEA OF FREEDOM, OPENS IN EL PASO
Earlier this week the `Whatever You Want`interactive Philosophy for Children exhibit opened at La Mujer Obrera in El Paso (Texas). The exhibit has been co-created by Wonder Ponder illustrator Daniela Martagón within the framework of the Philosophy for Children in the Borderlands program, with the support of a Diversity and Inclusiveness Grant from The American Philosophical Association.
Whatever You Want is an interactive exhibit of philosophy for children and families to wonder and ponder about freedom.
Based on the scenes created for wondering and pondering developed or the book-in-a-box with the same title by Ellen Duthie and Daniela Martagón to be published this month, the exhibit includes, as well as large scale reproductions and adaptations of many of those scenes, other elements such as the little houses of freedom, where children can enter and write on the walls their own rules to ensure peace and freedom inside the houses, a genie offering visitors thee wishes but posing a couple of questions that might make visitors think before making their wishes, a loudspeaker for everyone to say whatever they want , a Free House, where visitors can spy on its inhabitants and think about what they are all doing, and another house template for them to take home and draw their very own Free House at home.
Daniela Martagón was lucky to have artist Dina Edens working on the installation and adaptation of the works for this exhibition. Without her, it would not have been possible.
From the start of the Wonder Ponder project, we have explored all possible forms of presenting our Visual Philosophy for Children concept besides from our books-in-a-box, and museums were always on our radar. We are thrilled that this first concrete project in this direction has been in collaboration with the founder of the Philosophy for Children in the US-Mexico Borderlands program, Amy Reed-Sandoval.
Amy Reed-Sandoval and Daniela Martagón met last year in Oaxaca. "Daniela shared with me", says Amy, "the fabulous work that she and Ellen Duthie having been doing through Wonder Ponder. I was struck by how wonderfully they work together as a team, and also by the captivating images that Daniela produces, as the illustrator for Wonder Ponder, to inspire philosophical conversation. In El Paso I have found that the Wonder Ponder "boxes" are excellent tools for getting very young kids engaged philosophically. This interactive Philosophy for Children exhibit at La Mujer Obrera is an opportunity for children and families from both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border to become philosophically engaged through viewing and discussing Daniela's visual creations".
At Wonder Ponder, we had been following the work of Amy Reed-Sandoval, through her Oaxaca Philosophy for Children Initiative and her Philosophy for Children in the Borderlines program for a few years, and it has been an honour for Daniela to have the chance to work with her. Though currently based in Spain, Daniela is herself Mexican, is therefore particularly interested in Amy's work.
"I am particularly excited that the the target community is mostly Mexican-Chicano", says Daniela. "Profesionally, it has also been very interesting from several points of view. Up until now our work has focused on the book-person relationship and this is an opportunity to explore the space-person relationship. At Wonder Ponder we are very aware of the importance of format, so this was a new challenge, with different scales, conditions and possibilities. It has been a very interesting process and a chance to explore what works in this new medium and what things to take into account for future exhibits".
At Wonder Ponder, while we look into further possibilities for taking philosophy to museums in the form of philosophy exhibits for people, small, medium and large, we are enjoying looking at and analysing the photos and feedback we are receiving from El Paso. We'll be sharing photos and comments as we go receiving them in coming days.
Find more information about Wonder Ponder and our Visual Philosophy for Children here.