- a printout of
one or several views of their assigned sculpture
- five packets of
Ask each group to
carefully examine their artwork looking for interesting details to point
out to others in their group.
about the Artwork
about the Art Maker
Explain to students that broad themes are general ideas that we can
use to help us consider the meaning or importance of an artwork. Write
the following four broad identity themes on the board or on an overhead:
A. We define ourselves through the roles we play.
B. We define ourselves through cultural traditions.
C. We define ourselves through our beliefs about life and death.
D. We define ourselves through the people we love.
Ask each of the eight groups (two for each sculpture) to select the
two identity themes that they believe are most helpful in understanding
their assigned sculpture. Next help groups select just one theme as
their focus. If both groups examining the same artwork select the same
theme, ask one group to use their second theme as their focus for interpretation.
Explain that the challenge to each group is to use their theme to help
explain what the sculpture is about. They should begin by reading the
basic information about the artwork (title, artist, size, medium) and
looking very carefully for details in the sculpture which relate to
their theme. Next students in each group should share the responsibility
of using their information packets as sources for additional information.
One or two students should read through each information packet seeking
information which supports the theme upon which they are focusing.
Ask each group to prepare to share their interpretation of their sculpture
with the entire class. Write the following instructions on the board,
overhead, or distribute an instructional handout to each group:
- What is the name
of your artwork?
- Who made it? When?
- What broad identity
theme are you using to help you interpret the artwork?
- What can you see
in the artwork that makes you think that it expresses your broad identity
theme in some way?
- What other information
have you found to support your theme?
- What other themes
are important to understanding your artwork? Explain.
- How will you share
your understanding with the class?
- Who will tell
the class important basic information about the artwork?
- Who will point
to visual evidence in the artwork which supports the theme?
- Who will share
other information about the artwork that supports the theme?
- Who will display
the artwork to the class pointing to important features as his/her fellow
group members share ideas?
Explain that broad themes can apply to many different artworks and that
different people can interpret the same artwork differently. Note that
all four of the sculptures can be seen as expressions of identity. Review
the theme introduction and
remind students that we develop our sense of identity from many sources,
including from our cultures, our roles in life, and our personal beliefs
and experience. If groups have not already dome so, focus their attention
on 1) each sculptor's personal background (see the "Information about
the Art Maker" section as well as the Maker's Intention subsection of
the "Viewpoints for Interpretation" section posted with each artwork)
and 2) the sculptor's culture (see the "Cultural Context" and "Cultural
Understanding" subsections of the "Contextual Information" and "Viewpoints
for Interpretation" sections respectively posted with each artwork).
Our Identities as Girls and Boys, Women
If you judge the issue
of gender to be appropriate to discuss with your students, artworks can
provide many alternatives for consideration.
Many (perhaps most) identities are appropriate for both men and women.
Compare the following sets of images:
Often identities commonly associated with one gender are shared by the other
Baca presents women as Olympic athletes.
presents a fashionably dressed young man "striking a pose."
- Often traditional
gender identities are accepted and maintained:
Lomas Garza represents a woman in a traditional mother's role.
represents a man in the role of a muscular physical laborer.
- The same gender
can be represented in contrasting roles:
Jiménez show a powerless, passive (in this case dead)
López represents a strong, energetic woman striding toward
Our identity as males and females transform and evolve through time and
in different situations just as other aspects of our identity change.