Context Clues: The Appropriation of Malinche and the Virgin of Guadalupe

bySara Thomas

As an urban teacher I have had to find ways incorporate reading and writing across the disciplines within my art curriculum. I have decided to do this through art analysis, followed later by art creation. Students will be looking at icons, analyzing them, placing them in context, determining how context changes the analysis, and then creating their own icon within a specific context. First I will show students a set of images of the Virgin of Guadalupe focusing on analysis, supporting their interpretation with information from the artwork. The second set of images we view will be of Malinche and we will focus on the importance of understanding context. I will use these two different Mexican icons whom artists have represented in a variety of different ways, to teach students these skills. As a culminating activity I would like students to choose an icon that is interesting to them, and then choose a context in which they would like to appropriate that icon. They will need to determine how they would like the viewer to see that icon differently, and what symbols they are going to use to express that idea, using the examples we have viewed as an inspiration for process.

(Developed for AP Art, grades 11-12, and Introduction to Art, grades 9-10; recommended for AP Art, grades 11-12, and Introduction to Art, grades 9-10)

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