Unearthing Silenced Histories: Profile

The Big Idea:

How do artists reveal their culture's (and their own) hidden or unheard voices? How does an awareness of these voices change our views about ourselves?

Activity overview

Everyone searches for and finds his or her own identity through a wide variety of experiences and expressions. Gathering multiple stories, or voices, about a person and his or her historical period can help make that identity easier to understand. In this activity you will learn how an awareness of these voices can change your own view of history.

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. review the art of Doris Salcedo, Glenn Ligon and Kara Walker
  2. discuss silenced histories
  3. brainstorm questions to ask your interview subject about an important event in recent history
  4. conduct the interview and write a short summary
  5. present your summary to the class
  6. reflect on how the interviewee's point of view has influenced yours

You will be graded on:

  1. development of interview questions
  2. style and completeness of interview summary
  3. organization and clarity of presentation
  4. reflection on silenced histories