By Chang Lee
On Oct. 24, English teacher Lauren Kleinberg and her tenth grade classes held a pop-up museum.
The students, after reading Sherman Alexie’s book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” were required to create their own piece of art that drew inspiration from their unit on stereotypes and identity.
The piece was required to focus on the power of juxtaposition and their own personal understanding of what it means to be “split.”
During the pop-up museum, students displayed their artwork in the classroom for others to view and analyze without asking the artist.
Sophomore Bennett Chester in Kleinberg’s 5th period class created an artwork that displayed the similarities between his deaf uncle and his father. He used his uncle and father’s old photos to compare their lives (seen in the picture on the left).
“I wanted to show that even though [their exteriors] may be different, ultimately my father and uncle are very similar in the inside. As seen in my artwork, both my uncle and father like baseball, and they both had bar mitzvahs. The only difference is that my uncle needs hearing aids while my father doesn’t,” Chester said.
Sophomore Patrick Riley created a 3-D model of his head, implementing his cultural features. “I juxtaposed my diverse nationalities: Filipino, English, Japanese, and Irish. I wanted to show how my different nationalities shaped me and created who I am today. The soccer ball [on] the back of my head represented my athletic abilities,” he said.
Many students learned about stereotypes from this project. “I learned that stereotypes sprout from the ignorance of a specific culture. Because of this ignorance, we place upon people certain labels [for identification],” sophomore Natalie Zamora said.
Students also developed new perspectives on society and themselves.“Stereotyping is happening all around us. Stereotypes, although it may be sad, play a big role on how we view each other and ultimately the world. I saw myself in a different way after this project. I also got to see how other people viewed themselves,” Sophomore Josiah Laney said.
Kleinberg assigned this project because it was a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics project that implemented the arts. Problem solving, engineering, creating and analyzing the project were all necessary. She also wanted the students to explore their voices and individualities in a new, non-traditional way as well as view other people in a new way.
“My students exceeded my expectations. I was impressed by the creativity and the analytical aspect of every single project. I am so proud of them,” Kleinberg said.