Expressing Culture in Art

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Expressing Culture in Art

Tigist Kera is with Mrs. Hastings working on her project

Tigist Kera is with Mrs. Hastings working on her project

Alexis Conaway

Tigist Kera is with Mrs. Hastings working on her project

Alexis Conaway

Alexis Conaway

Tigist Kera is with Mrs. Hastings working on her project

Nick Conner, Reporter

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Pride in Hispanic heritage can be found in every corner at Eaglecrest High School. One such corner is the vibrant and messy art hallway, home to Mrs. Hasting’s sculpting class, who have found a creative, fun, and attractive way to present Hispanic heritage in a new art project at Eaglecrest.

 

Walking into Mrs. Hasting’s classroom I saw nothing but smiles and a great deal of focus as students concentrated on their individual sculptures. Mrs. Hasting’s has created a very calming and creatively expressive environment for students to let their artistic talent truly shine. Students can work while they listen to hip-hop and smell the soothing aroma put off by an incense oil vaporizer all while applying historical and cultural concepts to the inventive formations that the students have developed.

 

The culture, of course, is the most important portion of Mrs. Hasting’s new sculpting project. Students have been instructed to create Mexican animal sculptures. “Popularity-wise, [they are called] alebrije animals from the movie Coco” Mrs. Hastings explained. In Coco, a children’s movie revolving around the Spanish traditions of Day of the Dead, alebrijes are presented as very colorful and fantastical animals that represent imagination. In reality, alebrijes represent much more. They have become a trademark of Hispanic artistry and culture.

 

When asked about what source information was needed to tackle such a project, Mrs. Hastings replied,

“The background that these came from was the Mexican folk culture, so folk art from Mexico. ”

— Carrie Hasting

We introduced this information to students at the beginning of the unit and then they researched animals in the alebrije style and then looked up the meaning of the animals and then from there got to choose which animal they felt connected to [in order to] complete their sculpture.”

 

One student, Madeline Brewer, chose to sculpt a seahorse. “I’ve always just really liked seahorses. I love animals and I think that sea creatures are really cool.” When asked about the potential colors that Brewer might use, she responded “Probably blue, green, purple, deep sea shades and colors.” Another student, Cory Chen, was eager to describe his sculpture of a shark. “I molded newspaper into a(n) oval body and then I added a platform at the end to attach the fines and the tail to it.” Chen’s simple but practical inspiration for his creation was stated with quick passion…”I like sharks.”

 

Art at Eaglecrest can always be counted on to reflect the very best features of the culture and influence that the Eaglecrest community has worked so hard to build. A prime example of this is Mrs. Hasting and her class celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Not every culture in America is as equally represented and recognized as others, so it is extremely refreshing to see positive recognition of Hispanic heritage in today’s education. Mrs. Hastings and her sculpting classes are setting high expectations for the significance of the art that Eaglecrest will produce and hopefully if you’re like me, you can’t wait to see what they do next.

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