April 25, 2018
For the past four years Professor Silvia Tomaskova has been teaching a large lecture class on Prehistoric Art, a survey of creativity around the globe, from the emergence of “art” in Africa to current creative production of Aboriginal and Indigenous people in Australia and the Americas. The last hands-on exercise at the end of the semester is a group project (3-4 students), making a mask. The students read scholarly articles about masks and mask making from an anthropological perspective, so as to realize that a “mask is never just a mask”. They view numerous mask collections in museums around the world and then they decide what their mask will say about them as a group. During the recitations they bring art materials and work on the project. In conclusion each student writes a short individual reflection paper about the mask, what it says, and how the group made a decision about the message, the process, and the final outcome.
In the Spring 2018 Julia Longo and Gracie Riehm, the graduate student Teaching Assistants in the class, guided the students through the process to spectacular results. The masks are beautifully made, creative, thoughtful, some are funny and some are quite sad. They are a small window into our students. Visit Alumni 313, our latest pop-up art gallery, to see for yourself.