Retablo Activity

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Updated on Sep 11, 2014

Retablos are folk art used in Latin American communities that usually depict iconography from traditional Catholic Church art. These devotional paintings are often created on small pieces of tin or wood and are hand-painted. Sometimes, the artist will paint something that happened in a dream, or an unfortunate experience that happened in real life. Retablos are often accompanied with text explaining how thankful the artists are that a particular saint helped them when they were under duress. In this activity, your child will create her own, more simplistic version of retablo artwork. She can either tell a story, or simply create a design from popular elements often seen in traditional retablos such as skulls, flowers, and fire.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Glue stick
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Discuss with your child how she would like to go about making her retablo. Would she like to tell a story through imagery, or would she prefer to use popular iconography to design the visuals of a retablo?
  2. Have her draw and cut out out the elements of her retablo on construction paper.
  3. On another sheet of construction paper, have her collage and organize her image. If she will be telling a story, or writing a "thank you" to a saint, she can leave room around her image to include text.
  4. Encourage her to carefully glue down her paper design.
  5. Have her write down any text she wishes to include.
  6. Ask her to use markers to add any details to complete her retablo.

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