Siqueiros in Jail

Activity Steps:

To understand artists and their points of view, you will role-play scenarios based on David Alfaro Siqueiros's experience in prison.

1. Research:
Work with a small group and research why Siqueiros was sent to prison. (You may also want to research the Mexican Revolution to understand the cultural context.) You will use this information to take part in a role-playing scenario in which Siqueiros's friend and fellow painter Diego Rivera comes to visit him in jail. They discuss the Mexican Revolution and how their art and the mural movement fits into it. Siqueiros reads Rivera his manifesto and decides to show Rivera some of his paintings.
2. Create:
Divide the class into small groups and decide who will take the following roles:

  1. David Alfaro Siqueiros
  2. Diego Rivera
  3. prison guards
  4. various characters from Siqueiros's jail paintings
3. Optional:
Re-create the scenes Siqueiros depicted in his paintings. Give voices to the characters in the works to make them come to life. After the presentations, ask your classmates to discuss what they imagine the artist was trying to communicate in each painting.
4. Reflect:
In your journal, discuss whether you think Siqueiros's artwork was revolutionary. How did the fact of being in prison affect his
message? What would you do in a similar situation?