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Middle School art project: Your identity in a suitcase

“They were to put their identity into a suitcase,” art teacher Fiona says. “I also gave them the chance to use a memory or an experience if they struggled too much. At the beginning we did a lot about identity, what it means: We watched Taiye Selasi’s ‘Don’t ask me where I am from, ask me where I am local’. From that they really got to think about what makes me who I am: Is it about being local, the things I’m picking up, is that what’s forming me as an individual, rather than necessarily where I was born or where my parents come from?

And I introduced them to Joseph Cornell, who is famous for making assemblages. I like the way he arranges the objects, and that got them thinking about the visual element of it, how the objects are arranged, is there a color scheme, the actual container itself.

I suppose with my work I am always trying to make connections with things that they can relate to now, so they can see something that inspires them.”

Well, dear Fiona, it seemed to work just fine.