Revolutionary Words

Activity Steps:

Think about the characteristics of revolutionary artists and their manifestos.

1. Discuss:
Discuss with your class the three artists (Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Piet Mondrian) and their political motivations. What do they have in common with respect to the content of their work? The places and years they were working? The audiences who saw their art?
2. Brainstorm:
With your classmates, discuss what a manifesto is. Look it up in the dictionary. Who might write a manifesto? Why are they written? How are they used? View the artist screens that contain examples of manifestos by Rivera (he reads an excerpt in the video), Siqueiros, and Mondrian. You may also want to search the Web or your library for other examples. They might be artistic manifestos (such as Rivera's) or political statements (such as Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from the Birmingham jail), or they might even take the form of poems or song lyrics.
3. Discover:
Discuss the typical writing style of a manifesto. Make a list of its basic parts: a motivation or cause for writing, a determination to achieve a certain result, an attempt to engage the public, the presentation of a new way of thinking, etc.
4. Analyze:
Select one manifesto and write a short paragraph explaining why its language appeals to you. What does the author hope to change? In your opinion, how do manifestos support revolutionary actions?
5. Edit:
Trade your rough draft with a partner and edit each other's work. Rewrite.