Personal Symbols, Personal Mythology

The Big Idea:

What role do symbols play in defining a person's identity? Can symbols have multiple meanings?

Activity Overview

Everyone searches for and finds his or her own identity through a wide variety of experiences and expressions. Often a system of personal symbols can express that identity. Artists may construct a private symbolic language in order to talk about themselves or to grapple with the world's injustices and challenges. In this activity you will create poems that center on your own personal symbolism.

Look closely:

Click on each artist button at right to view detailed screens about the artist and his or her works. Be sure to click on all images, view all videos, read all documents, and use the zoom tool to look closely at the works of art.

In this activity you will:

  1. learn how artists use symbols to represent ideas and feelings
  2. think of symbols that represent your own characteristics
  3. write a self-portrait poem
  4. present your poem to the class in a poetry slam
  5. reflect on what you learned about yourself

You will be graded on:

  1. notes on artists in Making Sense of Modern Art
  2. originality, style, and completeness of self-portrait poem
  3. participation in poetry slam
  4. written reflection

New terms:

symbolism