Body Language Through Sculpture



Exploring gesture and movement using clay, this lesson was produced by a college student majoring in Art Education.


Students will learn ways to use clay as a medium to express body language.

Students will acknowledge their own body language and confront it with other examples of body language as means of communication.


Keith Haring Polaroids


Clay tools


A discussion will be engaged about some of the sculptures, and what they are expressing through body language.

Several volunteers will be asked to participate in a group dynamic. One student will come in front of the class and will be asked to make believe he/she is made of clay. After this, several students (sculptors) will modify his/her (inert and receptive) body in order to express different emotions. Each student will have a flash card stating the feeling he/she has to "sculpt". Class participation is encouraged by trying to guess the emotion that the volunteers attempted to recreate.

After this stage, clay chunks and clay tools will be handed to the class.

Students will be encouraged to use both hands to feel the clay; and to get used to the new medium.

Examples on how to glue clay, using water (slip) and toothpicks to reinforce the clay structures.

As students finish their clay models, they will be put to dried and then painted continuing to keep in mind that the painting methods and colors carry the emotional meaning as well as the gesture.

(if working within a time limit, the uncompleted clay sculptures can be stored by placing damp paper towels over entire piece and then double bagging it in plastic.)


What are the ways humans can express themselves with their bodies?

How does mood relate to body language? What are the features that help communicate this?

Can we see body language in other places rather than in sculptures and paintings?

Can we see body language in magazines? Movies?

How can we ourselves use our language to speak without words?


The author of this lesson, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, a student of the School of Visual Arts in NYC, is the 1999-2000 scholarship recipient of the Keith Haring Scholarship award. This project was a collaboration with The School of Visual Arts & Junior High 45 in New York City

To find out more about The Keith Haring Foundation Scholarship offered through the School of Visual Arts, please contact:
Director, School of Visual Arts/Visual Arts Foundation, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC 10003.

SVA's web site