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Memories of Self and Others

Human beings are thought to be the only living creatures that reflect upon the past and give importance to their memories. The expression and preservation of personal memories and memorials to others are manifest in written autobiographies and biographies and autobiographical works of art. Memories of others encompass a wide range of memorials, often expressed through public works of art. The common human practice of burying the dead through ritual or ceremony has been evidenced throughout history in the deliberate placement of the body and the inclusion of artifacts and mementos. Such practices certainly serve as memorials.

To motivate your students to create art and writings based on their own personal memories, share the following websites. Depending on your students' grade levels, you might also encourage your students to author their own personal web pages. Autobiographical web pages could include artwork, photographs, and/or writing.

Online Resources

Two contemporary artists who make art based on their personal memories are Carmen Lomas Garza and Faith Ringgold. Both have strong online presences with their personal websites: Carmen Lomas Garza: Chicana Artist, available at, and Faith Ringgold at Lomas Garza, a self-described Chicana narrative artist, creates images about everyday events in the lives of Mexican Americans based on her own childhood memories and experiences in South Texas. Her website includes an artist statement, images of her artwork, a biography, and much more.

Ringgold is an African-American artist well known for her illustrated children's books such as Tar Beach. Her website offers many features, including a biography, a test about prejudice, a story to read and illustrate, frequently asked questions, and a link to send a message to the artist.

Another artist who painted from personal experience who older students could explore is the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Websites about this artist include Frida Kahlo & Contemporary Thoughts,, Artcyclopedia: Frida Kahlo,, and Frida Kahlo, National Museum of Women in the Arts,

Vincent van Gogh is a great artist to investigate for his very personal and expressive paintings and his comments about them, detailed in numerous letters to his brother. The van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, www.vangogh, About van Gogh Art,, and Webmuseum: Vincent van Gogh,, are just a few of the many van Gogh websites.
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Title Annotation:web sites for helping students create art and writings based on personal memories
Author:Walkup, Nancy
Publication:School Arts
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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