'Años Viejos', also known as 'monigotes', (which translates as 'rag dolls') are giant figures that are traditionally burnt in Guayaquil on the 31st December as part of the New Year's celebrations. They tend to be based on cartoon characters, superheroes or famous personalities and can be made either entirely from papier-mâché or with a paper head and straw or sawdust-filled body (perhaps something similar to our Guyfawkes figures burned on the 5th November in the UK).
To encourage our children to come up with original ideas for their own monigote characters we decided to theme this character design session on imaginary friends.
1. Our first step was to introduce the idea of imaginary friends by reading from Jonah Winter's illustrated children's book "Frida", which recounts the story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The book talks about Frida having "an imaginary friend called Frida" and refers to her drawings and paintings as sources of companionship and strength for her. It was amazing to observe just how captivated the children were in listening to the story being read aloud. These moments were the most peacful we have seen in Art Club in the entire year!