Transformation Looking & Learning
Ask students to make a list of important places or
objects in their school. The list might contain things
students find interesting or elements that are unique.
Prompt students by asking them what they would
show a visitor on a tour of their school.
Divide students into groups and assign each group
a place or object on the list, then present them with a
challenge: Create a machine that will help your classmates look at your assigned place or object in a new
way. Older students may be asked to create a title and
instruction manual for their machines.
Have students identify a material or technique that
challenges them. Instruct them to invent their own
processes and work in a nontraditional manner. Allow
students a generous amount of time to experiment.
Encourage them to embrace their mistakes. Require
students to keep a list of their trials and outcomes in
a journal or sketchbook. After their research, have
students choose one or more processes from their lists
to use in an artwork. In conclusion, ask students to
reflect on their process and how it might inform their
artmaking in the future.
Ask students to brainstorm about how cultural attributes could be combined to create an entirely new
culture. How would we dress, live, play, and work if we
were a part of this new culture?
In groups, have students create a display about their
invented cultures. They should include images of their
culture’s dress, activities, and
environment. The display should
visually inform the viewer about
the invented culture. At the completion of the project, see if students can accurately describe the
invented cultures created by other
groups by looking only at their
displays. Additionally, you may
instruct students to write a journal
entry about daily life from the perspective of a member of their new
Developed by the Kutztown University Looking and Learning team, with Dr. Marilyn Stewart and graduate students
Amy Ahn, Zoe DeHart, Amanda Deibert, Cassie Langan,
Jennifer Low, Ellen Pados, and Katherine Schneider.
Lead author, Amanda Deibert, is a full-time student and
graduate assistant to the department of art education and
crafts at Kutztown University.
Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Space Walk, 2002. Screen printed cotton fabric,
fiberglass, plywood, vinyl, plastic, steel; figures: 84 8/10 x 252/10 x 224/10" (212
x 63 x 56 cm); ship: approx. 148 x 61 2/10" (370 x 153 cm) diameter. Copyright
the artist. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai.
Ask students to think of a time
that they were frustrated with
their work. What was the source of
their frustration? Sometimes artists have difficulty achieving a certain technique or struggle to come
up with new concepts.
Additional Digital Images
Yinka Shonibare, MBE
Nikki S. Lee
Visit the Davis Art Images
website for ten additional
fine-art digital images
to support the concepts
discussed in Looking and
Mask with Seal or Sea Otter Spirit, from Alaska,
Yukon River area, Yup’ik Culture, nineteenth
century. Wood, paint, gut cord, and feathers.
©Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas.