Evidence suggests that a hunting people lived in this area 21,000 B.C or earlier. Some of the earliest and most advanced civilizations began in this region. Mayan, Aztec and Toltec settled this area. Their descendants still thrive in modern Mexico. Hernan Cortez battled the Aztecs and in 1521 took control of the land for Spain. Metizo, Spanish and Native American (Mayan, Aztec, Toltec) are the largest groups in Mexico today. In 1814 they regained their independence. The desire of the United Stated to expand westward and the annexation of Texas were major causes of the Mexican war with the United States. California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States and the southern boarder of Texas became the Rio Grande. The Mexican government received $15 million.
Visiting relatives in Mexico becomes a journey of enlightenment for Carlos and his sisters in
. They realize the time they have spent away from their birth place has not changed the love they have for their home and their family. In
A Day’s Work
grandfather must depend on his English speaking grandson for guidance and work. We will revisit the theme of duality we discussed in
Living in Two Worlds
. After sharing
Gathering the Sun
we will investigate where our fruits and vegetables are grown and how they make it to our local grocery stores. Do small and large grocers get their fruit and vegetables from the same origin? Why? Why not?
Diego Rivera’s (1886-1957) wish for art and politics to be viewed and appreciated by everyday working people has enriched many lives. He used a method of painting called fresco. It is the application of water colors onto wet plaster. He painted them on community building for maximum exposure to the public. We will endeavor to create a mural rich in storytelling and politics of our school and community as did Mr. Rivera. We will display it in a common area for the entire community to enjoy. The lively mariachi music of Mexico and the panpipes of the Andes will assist us in the creative process.
The rich images created by his partner Frieda Kahlo (1907-1954) suffered lifelong illnesses beginning with polio. A major bus accident that left her bed ridden. It was during her convalescence that she began to paint. Her painting were largely self portraits mixing her inner pain, turmoil and rich Mexican heritage. Her Self Portrait with Monkeys from 1943 is a blend of inner strength and cultural beauty. We will use this piece of art to begin self portraits of ourselves with rich cultural backgrounds. What are each of us proud of ? The display will include artists notes.
We will study symmetry and its applications to design as we recreate Mexican amante paper cutting. Amante paper cutting originated it’s name from the bark of the amante tree. Strips were boiled in water and ash until soft. They were then layered on top of each other and pounded together with stones. It may be white or brown in color and is a Pre-Conquest art form. It was used for paper and clothing. Today it is used to cut out magical shapes that protect crops, ward off evil and protect homes. The original texture can be recreated with brown paper bags. Fold the paper in half and experiment with cutting techniques. Once a piece is finished crumple it up but do not tear it. Re-flatten the paper and iron between two pieces of wax paper. The texture of the paper and creases will add richness to the cut out. Mount it and display
Observational skills will be honed as we investigate Mexican amate paper painting Natural scenes of village life or local birds and animals are painted with brilliant color on the imitation amante bark. Only the figure and a few plants are painted in the center of the paper. The natural beauty of the amante is left as the background. Some have geometric boarders. The design can be penciled onto the paper and then filled in. A small amount of dish detergent added to acrylic paints will allow it to adhere to the waxed surface. Scenes of our community will be translated into this art form. We will each select local plants and or animals to include in our painting.
Pottery is used in all cultures for survival and decoration. Students will compare the use and design of 19th and 20th century Mexican pottery from the Tonala and Metapec regions. The students in conjunction with the lesson plan, contemporary Mexican arts, will be able to appreciate the time invested in building and firing hand made pieces.