Leslie Lew teaches tolerance with “Buki’s Garden”
The museum sponsored a reading and art workshop based on Lew’s book, written and illustrated by the American neo-pop artist. The book tells the tale of Buki, a kitten that is shunned by other animals because she looks different. Through the book, children learn that being different is okay, and to be more accepting of others.
At the workshop, held April 23 for families of the American Sugar Factory, Lew read the story and kids had the chance to discuss what they learned. They were then given their own three-dimensional image of Buki – mounted on canvas board and outlined in black – to paint.
Going along with the book’s theme, the children were provided with a variety of colors and encouraged to paint their own interpretation of Buki. Lew would add her own touches on their paintings to transform them into a shared work the young artists will cherish.
Lew, who is based in New York, works in her trademark “sculpted oils,” giving her art a rich assortment of textures and colors that bring them to life. She has exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world, including the Guggenheim, Carnegie Mellon Museum, SoHo Center for the Visual Arts in New York, the Young at Art Museum in Florida and in London. She even has her artwork displayed in a U.S. Embassy in New Zealand.
In 2013, Park West Gallery sponsored Lew to bring the free art education workshops to Detroit. She visited missions, orphanages, learning centers and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan to teach local children to celebrate tolerance and diversity.
Lew has said “Buki’s Garden” is based on a real cat she adopted, but was also inspired by Lew’s own past struggles of finding her own way.