Teachers at a Missouri art school are using art to teach black history.
Art teacher Ann Mehr found that the “Man Spirit Mask” triptych by artist Willie Cole was an “important teaching piece” because of the focus on slavery and domestic work during the era of segregation in the United States.
“I knew he recycled, and I knew that he did art related to his African-American ancestry, but the more I learned, the more intrigued I was,” she said.
Students studied Cole’s work, and created their own art. They learned about black and African history, but also about recycling and upcycling. Cole was known for using recycled and found objects in his art.
“I feel it’s important to me personally and as a teacher to be thoughtful … the consumer culture doesn’t really encourage reducing our consumption or reusing or recycling,” Mehr said.