Revealing Missing Perspectives

The Big Idea:

How can art reveal missing perspectives? How do artists reflect upon their racial, cultural, and national identities in order to represent historical narratives?

Activity overview:

For thousands of years, artists have depicted historical scenes and events. The three African American artists introduced here—Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and Romare Bearden—reveal missing perspectives that have not traditionally been presented in art. Study these artists to understand how they re-tell, re-shape, and re-imagine historical narratives. Then create a history painting of your own.

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. Look at the art of Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and Romare Bearden
  2. Identify your race, culture, and nationality, and create a drawing that reveals your identity
  3. Create a painting that reveals a missing perspective
  4. Present your painting to the class; participate in critique
  5. Reflect on your work

You will be graded on:

  1. Clear use of principles of design
  2. Effective use of color to convey meaning
  3. Integration of figure in a complex background to surface an untold story
  4. Participation in group critique
  5. Written reflection