Esther At Frederik Meijer Gardens

This week Esther and I met my friend Hannah at the Frederik Meijer Gardens Butterfly exhibition. Esther loves hunts, so we carefully looked for lots of chrysalis and caterpillars, and then we enjoyed matching the butterflies to their names in the book they gave us. Afterwards, she played outside in the cold in their giant sandbox, which gave Hannah and I some time to talk apart from the chaos of so many people in the butterfly house. When you’re kiddo talks as much as mine does, 15 fairly uninterrupted minutes to catch up feel like gold!

Esther especially blew me away with her interest in the sculptures—she recently learned that statues are art, and we told her they are meant to be enjoyed and make people think. So she wanted to talk about quite a few of the different sculptures, and it was so fun to ask her “What does this look like to you?” and “How does this one make you feel?” Her answers were so insightful and honestly she identified some emotions from abstract art faster than I did! 

One of the first pieces we talked about was a giant toy looking piece, who had a big frown on his face. When I asked her why she thought he was sad, she said, “because he lost his toy.” Then inside we looked through their gallery, and she was captivated by this golden metal piece—it was perfectly round and smooth on the outside, but cracked and bumpy and jagged on the inside. She called it a broken moon and was very intrigued by it. Then as we went around a corner, we camp upon the piece “Two Blues” by Anish Kapoor. As soon as she saw it she said, “I’m a little bit scared.” I was surprised at first, because it’s just a big purple circle, but then I realized it was about three times her height and looked as if it could be rolling towards her! We talked about it more, and I said, “you know what it makes me think of? Outer space!” She got excited about that, and then informed me that her imaginary dog Fluffy had jumped inside to go to outer space. 😊

I want to always remember that when she saw one piece, she asked me, “What’s that one mom?” And I said, “I don’t know, what do you see?” And she thought for a minute and then said, “a hand!” “Oh yes I see that! And that circle kind of looks like a head! Do you think it’s people?” “Yes!” “What do you think they are doing? Sleeping? Dancing?” “They’re fighting!” And as soon as she said that, I immediately saw the piece as people wrestling—like if someone took a blurred photo of people wrestling, then sculpted from that! I was so impressed! I looked it up later, and the piece is called “Hagar” by Jacques Lipchitz. The artist created it as “a personal plea for peace in the Middle East.” My girl totally saw that emotion! 

 I never would have guessed at only 2 3/4 I’d have a little modern art connoisseur as my buddy (“No mom! I’m not a buddy. I’m just a princess.”). I can’t wait to talk about the feelings and responses we have to art with her more as she grows, and I can’t wait to see more and more of the person she is becoming. Being her mom is the best thing. 


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