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More from Maggie-was: An Explanation for lack of Iroquois mask images


From: Sharon Henneborn (heneborn_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Jun 17 2003 - 07:33:09 PDT

More words from Maggie is a very good thing:<) I am glad you have
your new house and are set up to connect with us from there. I am
looking forward to more "Words of Wisdom from Dr. Maggie"

I am in complete agreement with what has been said about not copying
art work of any culture or artist for that matter. Adding to that I am
not comfortable with a lesson activity that has the students draw in
the style of another artist. I am OK with trying their young hands at
a movement style such as surrealism after defining what
characteristics typically distinguish that style and viewing the works
of several artist who experimented in that style. I know I will get
disagreement on that point.

If is is OK to have a Van Gogh Day and all the students paint a Starry
Night then it follows in their minds it is OK to copy the Disney
characters or specific supper heroes and call it their own art work.
Is that any different from copying a poem from a book and turn it in
as written by you because did the handwriting?

Teachers I know teach their students to copy the Japanese cartoon
characters by name when asked to "do something Japanese when we study
Japan" I would rather see the bamboo brushes and water color paints
come out, teach them a few basic strokes and try for themselves what
they can produce with that technique. The goal is to experience
Japanese art not to produce Japanese art. How will the students
become confident with their own style if they experience this kind of

I have done a lesson on looking at many examples of Matisse's figures
and then try some of his techniques in a portrait drawn from a live

I am sure there are arguments to justify having the students copy
other artists and cultures but I have never been comfortable with
doing it.

Sharon -NJ

>From: Maggie White <>
>Subject: Re: An Explanation for lack of Iroquois mask images
>Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2003, 11:15 PM

> Judy Decker wrote:
>> Here is the policy for Iroquois False Face masks:
<snip> there is no way I would do a lesson having my students
>> duplicate the false face mask style (I never had my students use false face
>> anyway). I still think it is OK for students to know about the masks - and
>> know why they are no longer in museums for viewing.
> Judy,
<snip>. I wholeheartedly agree
> with your statement to never duplicate a false face mask. I shudder
> every time I read a lesson that seems to ask students to replicate
> ANYTHING from ANY culture. I've been writing an article in my head, and
> hope to get it on paper, about this very topic. It's one thing to view,
> compare, and contrast artifacts from several cultures; it's something
> else entirely for a teacher to tell students they will "make" katsinas
> (out of toilet paper tubes, no less!). Eesh!
<snip>> Wow--For a year and a half I did not have a home land line,
and could
> only skim over the messages and respond to very few--believe it or not,
> there was a LOT MORE I wanted to say but just didn't have time to at
> school. I also didn't have the luxury of checking out most of the Web
> sites y'all posted. Now, I'm not working, have a home Internet
> soon as the boxes are unpacked there'll be no holding me
> back. Lar, I'm still chewing on Joyce's statement.
> Maggie