Students were asked to create a product representing the culmination of their course and the Storytelling Project. This product would be a representation of transformation and regeneration and demonstrate influences of identity, cultural roots and resistance. We encouraged students to include elements of hip-hop culture and wellness, but wanted to empower the form of expression they ultimately chose.
Accompanying each product is a statement from the student speaking to the following questions:
- What does this piece represent?
- Who were your influences?
- Why did you make the choices you did in depicting this topic?
- How does this demonstrate wellness, transformation and/or regeneration?
The Moon’s Gaze
To me, this piece represents reconnecting with my soul. I think that in life, we tend to get caught up in expectations we believe we must live up to, there are constructs that we think we must live by; essentially ideas that society made up that we live by so vigorously we forget that we made them and are the ones keeping them true.
This even extends to the idea of time. Though the amount of time it takes for the Earth to rotate on its axis is represented by a day and the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit around the sun is represented in a year, ‘day,’ and ‘year,’ are how humans have made sense of our planet’s cycles, “Just numbers that make sense of life’s complexities.”
I’ve always tended to find some societal constructs estranged and as I grow older and my time to ‘join’ society draws closer, I’m finding it all the more bizarre.
For me, it’s always been a struggle to feel comfortable expressing the entirety of myself because of a fear of society’s judgment. I feel as though society has the tendency to categorize people or to label them which can feel very constricting, hence the line “longing to be free”- free from judgment or expectations that I am one thing or need to live a certain lifestyle.
I believe life is a gift. The chances that we are here right now are so rare, yet I think we take it for granted. That, or we forget that there is more possibility on this Earth than what we’re told.
Don’t get me wrong, I too am guilty of conforming to societal ideals. However I am increasingly realizing how constricting they can be and how unnatural it feels for me spiritually, so I expressed this in the line “authentic resurrection.”
Bouncing off of the idea of truth, what has always felt authentic for me, a grounding presence in my life, is nature. This extends to the trees, the moon, the sky- all of it. I also feel like nature has the power to mirror some human concepts. Stars don’t hold back any of the light they exert, we can see them trillions of miles away, even once they’re technically dead. ‘Joining the stars’ to me would expose to someone what it’s like to unapologetically shine, regardless of any mental/societal construct.
This ability to shine also represents the strength it takes to travel through something difficult; darkness. This is why I titled the song The Moon’s Gaze because to me, the moon is the light that’s present even in darkness and if you look for light, it has the power to watch over you amongst darkness. This difficulty can even be groping with being a part of a society one doesn’t always feel accepted in.
There is a duality to life we all experience, it cannot be prevented, but finding a way not only to survive life’s hardships, but also come out stronger and transformed is what sets people apart. More so than just the challenges of life, I wanted this song to focus on how to overcome those challenges. I think this is possible by remembering your power- your light- and reconnecting with what feels most authentic and fulfilling to you.
My song represents part of identity, and I hope I did a good job representing that. There’s a rapper called NF that really influenced me to start rapping and I haven’t stopped since. I figured making a song would be the easiest way to represent who I am.
I made this piece because I have multiple ethnicities and I don’t like just having to check into one category. I want to represent all my ethnicities and where my family has come from.I was influenced by a writing i did in this class “Get rid of the boxes makes people categorize one thing when I’m way more than just Hispanic or Mexican American, I want to represent all of my cultures and not just identify as one. It’s a never-ending game of tug of war in America, everything is based on race and getting rid of the boxes.
I made this choice because it’s something I think about constantly. It shouldn’t matter what race I am when I’m taking a math test. Once you finally get to identify on what you are it becomes freeing no college need to decide on what identify as we don’t need to continue the race game it’s 2021 I don’t need to just be Mexican because a stupid box makes me choose that.
This piece represents transformation & Identity. I was influenced by an old art piece i had created for identity, I added flowers to represent the transformations we have over time. I also used a golden chain to show how we are worth way more than we think. I feel as if society blinds us at times keeping us blind to your self worth, that is why I wanted to keep the eyes black. I used sticks and dead flowers to represent the harsh times we face, the sticks depict the walls we build to protect ourselves, and you will also start to see the transformation of blooming beautiful flowers. The purple surrounding her is aura, which I would basically say represents wellness. The purple aura means comfort, healing, and peace. For identity i tried to show what i feel like could represent culture just by facial features, i used plump lips and deep cheekbones, to show how she fits in the Mexican ethnic group. Same for the hair, I wanted to use black wavy hair to show her ethnic roots. To me all these details demonstrate wellness, transformation and/or identity because as people we all have an ethnic background, we all have walls built up for protection, and we all transform over time. We are all precious beings and I wanted to demonstrate that within this art piece, we all have things that make us who we are .
My piece shows ways to take care of yourself and how wellness and self-care are relatable. Kiara and Marlee were because they talked about wellness and self-care and well visual arts in different ways. I also liked how they did their visuals because one was in painting and the other in a website. On my poster, there are little drawings to represent some things that you could do to take care of yourself because not everyone knows how to do that. I also added a couple of quotes, the one in the middle represents what wellness means. I included this because it talked about your mind, body, and soul when it comes to wellness and I thought it was important to show that they are a big part of that. I also included the one on the borders because people should be taking care of themselves more often and they shouldn’t feel guilty about it (i am one of those people). It shows wellness because here are drawings of things that can bring you joy, it also shows transformation because the more you take care of yourself and find your wellness the better you feel.
This piece represents the journey through life of different people, specifically Hispanics immigrating to the United States. I specifically wanted to focus on the themes of identity and transformation, while using some rap music as well. “Mis Dos Patrias” is a song talking about being chicano. Being both Mexican and American. “Immigrants” and “A lot” talk about the struggle of getting to the United States, the danger, and the struggles once you are in the United States, respectively. That is very common amongst chicanos and immigrant parents all across the US. But then “Lose Yourself” talks a bit about the struggle as well but from a different perspective, a white male living in poverty. Identity is universal, everyone has one, and everyone struggles. Struggle is universal. “I kissed a girl” talks about finding who you really are. Experimenting to find your true identity. Transforming into your real self. Many many people take part in this and join the LGBTQ+ community. Being their true selves. “Las Mañanitas” and “El Tio Borrachales” are a representation of the chicano and Mexican culture. These are common songs that are played mostly on birthdays. Personally, the first song is the song I always hear when it’s someone’s birthday. Many hispanics could probably relate to that. And the other song is often enjoyed hearing at parties, it is a common, good hearted song. Once people have transformed and have found their true identity, songs like “Happy” and “Me Too” are a representation of enjoying life once and for all. Being happy with who you are and even bragging about who you are. Overall this playlist is meant to represent the journey that a lot of people embark in.
My art piece is for the immigrant children that were not eligible for DACA. This piece is influenced by my experience of coming to America with the idea that I would be able to get DACA and be able to not feel fear of deportation. I chose this topic because at the beginning of the year I had the hope that the date would have changed in order for me to qualify and at the end I didn’t. This demonstrates transformation because it’s hopeful and a different way to talk about DACA that will bring a different perspective on how even when we are being taken away we rise against all odds and achieve what we want.
This piece of art work illustrates transformation of regeneration, because it demonstrates racial slavery. More than one race was slaved or murdered. They fought for equality. We all suffered through poverty, we had to have the strength, dedication, and courage to have success or build up to success. We are now all united as one making better change for the future.
Puzzle Piece #1 = demonstrates slavery. Different colors define different race, because that fact many races have been through different struggles.
Puzzle Piece #2 = represents equality.
Puzzle Piece #3 = demonstrates poverty.
Puzzle Piece #4 = represents strength.
Puzzle Piece #5 = represents dedication.
Puzzle Piece #6 = represents courage.
Puzzle Piece #7 = represents success.
Puzzle Piece #8 = represents unity.
I focused on the colors the painting itself does represent the overall meaning but i do feel the colors for each piece has a lot to say what it means too. Also i made it like puzzle pieces because the process from there and now s a huge puzzle and feel like they all have a piece that demonstrates change.
This piece represents how I am a part of this group who all share the same lifestyle and culture. My influences were the Lyripeutics group, the boys, and Mrs. Carino. I made the choices I made in depicting this topic because all these clips really show what happens when you’re a part of this giant friend group who all share the same interests. This piece really shows my transformation because before i met all of my skatepark friends i was big into video games and if I didn’t meet these people then i wouldn’t have been motivated to go to the skatepark and see them and progress in my skill level on my scooter, so it really shows my transformation from cultures.
My piece represents balance, wellness, togetherness, and life. My influences would include Ms. Karia from Lyripeutics, myself, and the painting by Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam. His painting represents not only the creation of mankind, but their relationship with a higher power. I used the yin yang symbol to represent that with every creation, there is a light and a dark. The two hands are reaching out to each other to show that they cannot be without another. I choose to draw this because I think a lot of people expect others or perhaps themselves to be perfect, no darkness or bruises. When in reality, perfection is more of a façade, a mask to hide one’s ‘imperfections’, where they have been, what they’re going through, or their true self. Life does not exist without light and darkness, without the balance between the two. I feel like this represents wellness because I feel like a part of self love, is to not expect to be perfect in everything you do. To not expect it from your peers, parents, or teachers. That everyone is in fact, perfectly imperfect and should not be judged for things that make them stand out from the rest.
This piece represents a form of identity and a very common coping mechanism of tranquility. My influences were my personal experiences in life, as in, I use music as a way to distract myself or even calm myself down and let loose. I chose to depict this painting in a music form because it relates to our course and I felt it was the best topic to cover in one of my paintings. This demonstrates wellness, transformation, and regeneration by showing the person in the image in a state of stress and using different types of music to relieve themselves and calm down a bit. I feel like this picture has been me at times making me feel even more attached to my artwork in this piece and hopefully, it shows that Music DOES Help.
I’m sure the second you listen to this it will bring you wellness. All of these songs are songs that I listen to when I’m in the car with all of my family. Also we listen to these songs during parties. Most songs are songs that I got from my dad’s side of the family when you listen to it you should get an old soul feel. I feel like this relates to transformation because we are a family of minorities coming together and loving each other, something that people don’t believe happens often. Family matters so much in communities of color because not many people of color stick together as a matter fact we go against each other and it looks bad which makes it easier for people that are white to tear us apart. When we stick together as a family it makes it a lot harder to tear the Black community apart. Not only that family support each other, and that is also very important because we don’t get privilege like other people we share this country with.For a jamboard I mentioned that my wellness is being in the car blasting music. I listen to every single one of these songs and it just brings me back to good memories with my family. It reminds me of love and laughs and that’s the best feeling. There is one song in there called bad mamma jamma and I actually didn’t know it until my great grandma passed away and that was her favorite song so every time I hear it, it feels like she’s still here.
Mental health is something that most people in this age go through feeling worth less sad, but something that makes it better is music. Music is something we all turn to when we need something to get our mood up and make us feel better. Music is an important part of our lives and can always make us feel different ways so i have made a feel better playlist of some of my favorite songs that make me get out of my slump something that makes me feel better, and i want to share it with people. So you can find a new artist you never knew of or a new song that you like.
As a child growing up my older relatives was taught me and scare me with the idea of el Cucuy. He was a boogie man who would take misbehaving children, they told me. I envisioned him as a large Scary Monster with huge eyes and razor sharp teeth and nails. Needless to say I was terrified. As I started to grow up I left him in my childhood and soon forgot about him. Now as I see the news and read about Young girls like me being slaughtered and tossed on the side of the road like trash I realize he’s real, but he’s not some monster with big scary eyes and razor-sharp teeth she’s normal like you and me maybe even recognizable. El Cucuy is real and he doesn’t just pray on children he prays off of people like us the “vulnerable” but we will not stay silent we will not comply #NiUnaMenos
My art depicts a phoenix rising from its ashes and is meant to represent my journey with my ADHD. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 15 and before that, I just thought I was lazy and dumb. After I was diagnosed, and the more I learned about ADHD, the worse my perception of myself became. I struggled with the idea of having a disorder and feeling like there was something wrong with me. The more I learned about the symptoms the more ashamed I became and less I felt like I knew who I was. When I started learning about ADHD I began to realize that a lot of what I attributed to being my identity was actually just untreated ADHD. Sophomore year I had a really bad identity crisis because of this, but the pandemic allowed me time to figure out who I was separate from my ADHD. I was able to explore wellness and transform the narrative I had created for myself. The ashes are phrases that I used to define myself with, they represent all of the things I hated about myself. I had to deconstruct and burn down the previous mindset I had regarding myself and being neurodivergent. The phoenix represents my new mindset and my new sense of identity. I have risen above my ashes and I know now that I am not defined by my struggles or my disorder and I am still capable of great things despite them.