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I am in a post-bac teaching licensure program, having acquired my BFA more than
a decade ago. Back then, my art history was comprehensive, but practically
exclusively Western (The infamous "dead white males" dominated the 37 credits of
art history I took back then).
As I plan for this career change--I struggle and search for ways to teach art
that will be more inclusive of the many cultures represented in my students and
of the differing aesthetic perspectives they will bring to my class... so I've
been examining how I think about "art." I don't want to fall into the trap of
tokenism or of trivialising. I REALLY want to learn how to incorporate/teach
about art from other cultures with integrity and respect and sensitivity...so
thank you for raising the concerns. I hope it generates insight from others more
experienced than me, so that we all can improve our teaching!!
Responding to the message of <199702051837.KAA24468>
from gfchalm (Graeme Chalmers):
> Linda, I believe that your heart's in the right place and you probably do
> want to expose students to the art forms of a variety of cultures, but I
> wonder if others share my concerns about the recipe for making storyteller
> Have issues of cultural appropriation and ownership been addressed? Is it
> trivializing the art of the "other" to focus on technique and wish that
> students have a "happy modeling experience?"
> Having said this, and probably having made myself quite unpopular, I think
> that there are some ways to contextualize and rescue a cross-cultural art
> activity around the theme of "storytelling." Students could look at and
> discuss art that is used to tell stories across a variety of cultures
> e.g.(Wajang puppets from Indonesia, [in fact puppets from all cultures for
> that matter], quilts, Trajan's column, and Cochiti storyteller dolls) etc.
> etc. Certainly I think that students should make art to tell stories, but I
> have some concern about decontextualizing an art form which may not belong
> to us.
> What do you think?
> Graeme Chalmers
> Graduate Adviser
> Department of Curriculum Studies
> University of British Columbia
> Vancouver, B.C.
> Canada V6T 1Z4
> Tel: 604 822-4842
> Fax: 604 822-9366