Latino and African American Literature: Revealing our Core Identity

Beth Lasure, Visual Arts, Mallard Creek High School

Final Unit (PDF)      Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

Students in art class are generally introduced to units of study by the instructor, from which they are supposed to find their voice and create personal and expressive works of art. But is it really ‘their’ art? This scripted formula is often limiting and creates unintentional boundaries. When does my script become personal to them? What opportunities do I create in my units for this to happen? How can I challenge them to find their own totem and inspiration?
This unit will expose students to literature that is both personal, meaningful, and communicates to a larger audience. Understanding core identity and interpreting how it influences our choices is one of the main objectives of this unit. Throughout the unit, students will create a series of interpretive works of art based on the stories they read.
These works will be selections of Latino and African American writers, selections of folktales or magic realism; two styles of writing that have a longstanding tradition in each culture. These two genres also both make use of symbolism and fantasy- they both have characteristics of hybridity, irony, and collective consciousness, supernatural and natural, which is, in my mind, perfectly suited to creating imaginative and original works of art. Through analysis and interpretation, students will discover ways in which authors reveal their core identity in their writing.