Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

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Responding: New Stories, New Myths

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Introduction
                        

Charles Comfort: Captain Vancouver

David Neel: Captain Vancouver Portrait Mask

Lawren Harris: Maligne Lake, Jasper Park

Jin-me Yoon: A Group of Sixty-Seven

Art can reinforce certain images of nation, or propose new symbols and narratives, revealing voices and stories that have been hidden in this complex, multi-cultural, multi-racial society full of multi-faceted human beings. Art images are about power; they give human beings, communities, and cultures the ability and opportunity, to define themselves, to fight stereotypes, to respond to make themselves heard.

There's a big difference between naming oneself and being labelled. This section presents works that are significant because they show artists using existing traditions and symbols to present new stories and new myths about themselves and their experiences. The focus is two artistic "conversations." Each conversation consists of two pieces: one well-known piece of art from the past that contains images that have become symbolic or iconic as representations of Canadian identity, and one contemporary piece of art that responds artistically, through a newly created piece of art in a new medium, to the artistic image from the past. Both examples showcase contemporary artists using their practice to respond to and question imposed identities and narratives of nationhood embodied in images from the past.


Integrated Learning Units Related to "Responding: New Stories, New Myths"

The Power of One
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view artwork, have class discussion, conduct research, make cartoons and sketches, and write stories.

Us and Them
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view artwork, write descriptions, have class discussion, create posters, create paintings, create sketches, create collages, write poetry, write journal entries, write stories, compile results, and display their work.

Strange Encounters
Grade(s): 3
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussion, listen to musical theatre or opera recordings, write imaginary musical conversations, present their work (possibly in costume), videotape their work, compile collaborative class book, display their work, present their work to younger students, conduct internet research, visit local cemetery, collect data from gravestones, make graphs, and write findings.

Body and Mind "Scapes"
Grade(s): 3
In this unit students will view artwork, create soundscapes, make sketches, participate in interpretive movement, make a mural, have class discussion, write journal entries, read book, participate in role-playing, collect objects from nature, and display their work.

How the Light Bulb Gets Switched On - The Evolution of Ideas
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, take photos, create photo montages, display their work on school web site, write a character sketch, share their work, conduct internet research, paint old shoes, write artist's statement, display their work, and complete an art work.

Art as Social Commentary
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, prepare presentations, make photomontage, make posters, create cartoons, write journal responses, make Power Point presentations of their work, host guests to the class, and visit a courtroom.

Acadians Through the Portrait
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, make sketches, conduct internet research, improvise dialogue, make time lines, and have a debate

The Role of the Museum
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, host a visitor to class, take a field trip, conduct interviews, curate exhibitions, design posters, write an exhibition catalogue, design a museum, conduct research, conduct internet research, and present their findings.