+ + From a Student Perspective: + +
the beginning of the semester the instructor of the class was surprised
to see such a diverse group of students and the different cultures
they were from. The class consisted of students from Kenya, Japan,
China and England, as well as the United States. Together we would
be researching the work of two Mexican American artists and putting
it into its cultural context. As the work progressed, we gained
insights into the integration of cultures and discussed what meaning
the work of Diego Rios and Consuelo Underwood what might have for
our own lives.
soon discovered that as the younger generation of “new Americans”
we were able to bring a wide variety of opinions from our different
upbringings. Students from Keyna, Taiwan, China and Japan reflected
on how the history of their home countries affected their lives.
They had been taught to value and preserve their cultures, but some
students from other cultures had been taught otherwise. These students
were taught that moving to another country would require sacrifices,
and that they had to act in a certain way to ensure a more comfortable
stay in a foreign place. A Chicano student related how much he appreciated
the sacrifices his parents had made to live in America, and how
coming from a less fortune country made him more thankful for the
things he had here. As an Anglo-Indian recently come to the United
States, I too was thankful for the ground I walked on.
we in the class came from so many different backgrounds, we were
interested, not only in the art itself, but also in the backgrounds
of the two artists. I identified personally with the discussions
by the two artists of their backgrounds in Mexico and their identity
as Americans. It was important to me as well as the rest of the
students in the class to come to understand their backgrounds and
to realize that that their art represented more than just a pretty
picture to be hung up on a gallery wall. It spoke to our own efforts
to retain our diverse heritages and yet be fully American.