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Re: [teacherartexchange] Norval Morrisseau - Ojibwe Native American Art to admire


From: woodyduncan (woodyduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 08:52:21 PST

On Mar 12, 2006, at 8:21 AM, M. Austin wrote:

> I think what bothers me about teaching other cultures is that the
> artwork that seems to offend is the religious icons. Since it is
> almost impossible to become knowledgeable enough to teach another
> cultures' religion properly, why not focus on the utilitarian
> objects of that culture? You can teach the culture without
> infringing on their beliefs.

        I respect your opinion and understand what you are saying. But I
believe leaving out
images from various cultures is a mistake. Of course we should
approach the subjects
with respect and careful consideration. I taught in an inner city
middle school with a
wealth of diverse cultures. We tried to include a wide range of
images in our art.
With my interest in the southwest, I included images from native
cultures. When my
students created 3-D Kachina's I insisted that they not copythe Hopi
ones. Rather they
had to take images from there own teen culture and their
imaginations. In drawing, painting
and printmaking assignments I brought my collection of Hopi Kachina's
to school for my
students to draw.
        We also used Catholic Churches from New Mexico as subjects in our
        I hope everything we did was respectful and in good taste.
I have a friend, a native-american potter. She is Santa Clara Pueblo
but does a lot of
non-traditional images in her work. Suzy takes images from various
native and non-native
cultures in her work. She loves the images of the Northwest costal
tribes and includes
them in he pots. Her mother Jody even has a Totem Pole in her yard
here in New Mexico.
I see nothing disrespectful in using images from various cultures in
ones own creations.
It depends upon how it is handled.
        I realize the issues around images of people and animals in Islamic
art. I have made
my students aware of those religious taboos as well. We need to
expose our students to
the wide variety of images in the world of cultures. We also need to
ask them to be
respectful in utilizing those images.
                        Woody in Albuquerque, where it snowed today.
As of yesterday we had .05 inches of moisture so far this year. I
guess that's why
it's called a desert.

Woody, Retired in Albuquerque

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