SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Consideration "I walk, I think, I see, I pass, I come back, I pick up the objects that attract me, I go home, I read things, I make notes, I learn." —Georges Adéagbo Explore Create Beginner/ Intermediate Begin with a discussion about culture and what it means. Ask students to identify cultural objects, events, or practices. Next, show students a variety of artworks that depict and consider different cultures, such as molas, Kente cloth, Greek vases, and the Mayan Tourist Hanging with Quetzal Birds and Ducks. Ask, "What does this artwork tell us about the culture shown in the image?" "Why do you think it is important to depict a culture in artwork?" "What kind of things do people make today that tell stories about their culture?" "Is technology part of culture?" After the discussion, ask each student to create a list of important cultural items, events, or practices from his or her own life. Remind them that culture can include food, music, activities, sports, clothes, and games. Beginner/ Intermediate Ask students to create sketches of visual symbols or icons for each item on their cultural list. Help each student choose his or her most successful icons to contribute to a collaborative "culture grid." Have students complete the icons with any colorful two-dimensional media. Each icon should be created at a standard size such as 3 x 5" (7.5 x 12.5 cm), 4 x 6" (10 x 15 cm), or 5 x 7" (12.5 x 18 cm). When the icons have been completed, arrange them on a large piece of black paper or board. Examine the culture grid as a class. Ask students to identify what some of the icons might represent. Ask them to consider the many different aspects of culture depicted by a single group of students. Ask, "How many different cultures do you think are in this class? In our school?" Consider combining the culture grids from multiple classes and displaying them in a highly visible area of your school or community. Advanced First, show students the Mayan Tourist Hanging with Quetzal Birds and Ducks. Ask, "What does this artwork tell us about the culture shown in the image?" "Why is it important to depict a culture in artwork?" During the discussion, explain that the hanging prompts us to consider both the past and future by depicting traditional motifs and preserving a way of life. Next, show students Abraham—L'ami de Dieu. Ask, "What does this artwork tell us about the cultures shown in the image?" "What kind of connections is Georges Adéagbo making between slavery in the United States and the French colonization of Africa? Does the arrangement of this installation provoke you to consider the connections between these cultures? Does it connect to our culture today? How?" Advanced Ask each student to create a "mind map" of cultural practices, events, and ideas for each cultural group in which they participate on a large piece of paper or poster board. Remind them that culture can be defined as the characteristics of a particular group of people, including language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. For example, a student might create headings for skateboarding, classical music, student government, religion, and their favorite video game. They should create a heading for each group and place each heading on a different part of the paper. Then, they should add the characteristics in a list, pattern, or diagram around the heading to create a cluster. Next, ask students to carefully consider what they have written and draw the connections between each cluster. When the maps are complete, explain that students will create a symbol for at least three characteristics of each group and physically connect them based on the diagram they created. Their final culture map might be a relief sculpture, freestanding construction, or multimedia installation. Encourage them to work at a medium to large scale, using paint, marker, cardboard, wire, and other available materials. If possible, place the final maps in a public place or invite the public to your artroom. Consider combining each student's map into a single installation that considers and displays the cultural connections of your entire school community. Written by Karl Cole, curator of images at Davis Publications; and Robb Sandagata, digital and interactive media coordinator at Davis Publications. Resources Georges Adéagbo: Mayan Textiles: 26 February 2013 SchoolArts

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