Subject: Cultural heritage
Activity: Cultural influences in art
Materials: Paper and pencil
Vocabulary: Culture, heritage, Latinx, motif, perception, psychology, tradition
This art was inspired by diagrams that show how our eyes and vision work, as well as the artist's own experiences with a genetic condition that affects his sight. By drawing from various artistic influences, he encourages us to think about the role of culture and identity in art while examining how our eyes and minds work together to understand what we see.
Tras los ojos (Behind the Eyes), is filled with colors and shapes resembling a sunset sky, with rich hues of purple, sky blue, and pale pink. The shapes create a sense of movement and depth, inviting us to explore the work of art further. In this painting, the artist brings together elements from European, pre-Columbian, contemporary indigenous, and popular Latin American art, forming a fusion of styles that allows us to see unexpected connections between different artistic influences.
Can you think of any objects, food, or traditions that are important to your culture?
What do you use in your everyday life that is significant to your culture?
Look at this work simply as a piece of art. Does knowing about the cultures that influenced it cause you to see it differently?
- Partner up! Each person should write things down that make up their culture. This can include food, holidays, and beliefs that are important to your family.
- Then, take some time to draw a picture to represent some of these ideas and traditions.
- After both people are done, share your art with each other.
- You can do this activity alone by creating a list of things about culture, and then making a drawing depicting your culture.
This work of art was made by scanning and printing a copy of a painting. The painting is much smaller, about the size of a laptop computer.
Compare your partner’s art to your own. How are they similar? How are they different?
Culture – A group of people that has shared beliefs, customs, and ways of living.
Heritage – The special background or history of a person or group of people.
Latinx – People who come from Latin America or identify with Latin American origins.
Motif – A pattern or design that appears again and again in a piece of art.
Perception – The way we become aware of things through our senses.
Psychology – The study of how our minds work and how we think, feel, and act.
Tradition – The customs, beliefs, or ways of doing things that have been passed down through generations.
Michael Ray Charles, (Forever Free) Ideas, Languages, and Conversations, 2015 – art dealing with heritage and the pasts’ effects on the present
Simone Leigh, Sentinel IV, 2020 – art dealing with diaspora
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #520, 1987/2013 – two-dimensional wall art with clean, colorful lines
James Turrell, The Color Inside, 2013 – art that highlights and augments the colors of the sunset
Ursula von Rydingsvard, Untitled (Seven Mountains), 1986-1988 – art dealing with heritage and family roots