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Re: John Biggers

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From: dawn stien (dawnstien_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jun 04 2003 - 00:17:31 PDT


Linda -

Another cool thing about Biggers is that the kids are
as impressed by his work as we are - my students
haven't been able to see the real thing, but when we
explored it online, they wanted to print it out to
take home and wanted to email it to their parents!

Since Biggers used things like African combs and
stools and quilts in his work, I took that concept and
had students pick objects that were culturally or
personally significant and work on exploring ways of
portraying them.

I showed them a progression of how Biggers used the
image of a woman quilting in his Contributions of
Negro Woman to Democracy to how the quilt pattern
eventually began to take over his work, as in Song of
the Drinking Gourd and East Texas Patchwork.

One student had a key on a chain around his neck - so
we talked about latch key kids and how that was
culturally significant. I showed them ways to explore
using the key to make patterns, a star, and it even
took the form of a gun ...

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> I guess if I was teaching murals and just > happened
to have some of > his works among others, I could
justify a follow up > mural project, but > to show
Biggers all by himself and then expect kids > to go
make art in > the style of John Biggers is to me
laughable!

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!!

I compiled a list of links to murals made at different
points in history - I thought about turning it into a
webquest, but haven't gotten back to it.

While its easy to recognize the influence of artists
like Benton, Kollowitz, and Charles White in Biggers'
murals - I just can't encourage my students to try to
imitate him...

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> It's so spiritual and so deep. To view his work is
> akin to meditation,> It's definitely art to be
savored. I think I just > talked myself into
> another field trip to TSU! What an amazing
> experience.

Have you been to Tom Bass State Park to see Chritia V
Adiare or Song of the Drinking Gourd?

One called Quilting Party is also at the Wortham and
goes almost unnoticed because of its placement - it
used to be at the Music Hall.

Speaking of the Spiritual - Harvey Johnson just
finsished another mural (he collaborated with Biggers
on Salt Marsh (at HCC) and Nubia.) As soon as I find
the plug for my scanner, I'm going to share it with
the list - it's awesome too!

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