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MGMS Students tell stories through multicultural yarn paintings

May 16, 2024 11:11AM ● By Verlene Johnson

MGMS’s first-ever multicultural art class with their Nierikas yarn painting. Courtesy Photos

Gluing yarn onto paper may sound like a kindergarten project when in reality it can be a very intricate work of art

Until recently, the Huichol people of Mexico did not have a written language. Their form of communication was through symbols and art. This traditional form of storytelling continues to be a strong tradition among the Huichol people. This form of colorful yarn art is called Nierikas. 

Natural glue made of resin and beeswax is applied to a board. Colorful yarn is then pressed into the resin to form a design that tells a story. 

In more modern times, a story of pictures is drawn onto paper or canvas, glue is spread onto the drawing and colorful yarn is placed on top to help illustrate the story.

Students at Mountain Green Middle School who are taking the newly offered Multicultural Art class recently learned the art of Nierikas by talking about a life event they had experienced and telling a story like the Huichol people. Art teacher, Professor Marianna Norseth taught the students that different symbols helped tell the story. 

Students had three and half weeks to complete their Huichol Art Painting. Once completed each artist wrote an artist statement explaining their story and what they learned about the Huichol culture. They wrote about the symbols they used and what they meant in the Huichol culture. They were also asked to mention the similarities they noted between their culture and that of the Huichol.

Eighth-grader Ingrid Campbell said she chose to make a yarn painting representing nature because she loves to be outside. “I had so much fun making this and I learned a lot about the Huichol people and how they make their amazing paintings.”

Seventeen pieces of artwork from students who participated in this multicultural art course that was created by Norseth had their yarn painting on display at Weber State University’s Union Building as part of a multicultural art exhibit. Additionally, other pieces for this inaugural multi-cultural art course were on display at MGMS art night. 

“I want to express to all my students here at MGMS how very proud I am of them,” said Norseth, “They have worked very hard with incredible dedication and a sense of accomplishment. Each piece represents an extension of their personality and life experiences as explained in the art statement piece. They did achieve the goal, which was to compare and contrast the two cultures and have fun in the process.” λ

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