The last week of December, Byron Tomas brought his 7th and 8th grade classes in to the gallery to enhance their unit on power and privilege. Prior to their visit, students were assigned relevant readings and engaged in discussions about the structure of power.
Students were introduced to the exhibition as a photographic autobiography. Using their eyes to build knowledge about the community presented, students were asked to simply state what they saw thus building a visual vocabulary (see image). Rich discussions emerged from the process of looking at the image and eventually seeing the narrative within. After examining Nwabisa Nake’s image as a group, the class broke up into small groups or as individual viewers seeking to cull information from the images. They were asked to take notes with the mindset of a journalist: curious, objective and observant.
John Lombardo and Eric Polite joined us for our second day in the gallery. Mr. Lombardo shared anecdotal information and answered the numerous questions from the crowd. Mr. Polite lead the group in a dynamic activity asking the students to declare affinity with an image based on emotive directives. He asked us all to stand by the image that represents love, for example, and state why. The result of reflecting on half a dozen prompts in this manner was as profound and intimate as the exhibition itself.