I have been wanting to have my art 2 students take their work to a deeper level–to really bring in their voices. Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of students that already do, but most still create artworks that haven’t quite broken the surface. I’ve tried doing a unit on stereotypes before, but it seems that I get the usual suspects. So, this year, I decided it was the year to “bring it on”, so to speak. I decided to challenge my students with the tackling of social issues.
They first started by defining some “common” words… opinion, social issue, society, commentary, and parody. I also asked them to consider why an artist would want to us social issues in their work. That question seemed to be a hard one for them. I asked them to watch either a video on Maxwell Rushton and his “Left Out” project or on Favianna Rodriguez, a Latina printmaker, and make connections between the what they watched and our unit idea of using social issues in art. The final part of their research was to find artworks that used social issues. And, they couldn’t show any that I showed them for our intro to the unit.
To help my students get warmed up for creating their own artwork, I gave them a challenge. They had 2 choices. Choice one: talk to 5 different people about some “hot topic issues” of today, and create a sketch of a possible artwork based on their “favorite” opinion. Choice two: Pick a social issue that is hot today, create a slideshow of at least 5 different artworks around that issue (on either side), and present to the class.
These girls gave me permission to share the links to their slideshows. I think they did some great work.
The best part for me about this unit was how invested in their artwork the kids became. I didn’t have to prod the kids to get going. They quickly had a social issue they wanted to talk about and set off creating. I am so impressed with their work, and their voices.