Personal as Political

The Big Idea:

How do artists use symbols, words, and actions to convey political or social beliefs?

Activity overview

Many artists make work that communicates their thoughts and feelings about the political issues of their time. This activity will give you a sense of the different ways artists have used individualized styles and visual symbols to create politically charged, thought-provoking works. You will then apply this knowledge by identifying your own personal symbols and incorporating them into an artwork.

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 about artists' personal and political expressions
  2. create a work of art with a personal or political message
  3. participate in a class critique
  4. reflect on your work

You will be graded on:

  1. creativity, style, and composition of your artwork
  2. effort in identifying and collecting symbols
  3. written reflection

New terms:

symbol, feminism