Friday, April 16, 2010

Too Controversial.

a gift from student artist Courtney Morgan

This is a gift I received from one of my very talented students. This year in art classes, students were asked to consider larger themes, and consider how art can be used to deliver import social and political ideas. Several of them worked on politics and government systems. Yesterday when I visited the art display, there were several pieces dedicated to Totalitarianism, particulaly Nazism. These were not pro-Nazi images, these were simply pieces of art depicting the realities of such a regime. Apparently, they were deemed "too controversial" to remain a part of the collection.

We send the message that you're only allowed to know some things on the most surface level. We don't encourage deep thinking in a quest to process ideas encountered. Whose delicate sensibilities are going to be damaged if they see that a student took away from Holocaust Studies that precious lives were stolen in a violent, unforgivable fashion? Isn't that what education is?

I am so proud of this gift. Not only is the piece itself very well done, it proves to me that this student learned and took away from my class the very things I hoped she would. In a year where 70% of students found a way to sleep while I tried to impart knowledge, this was the finest, most precious gift I could receive.

Art accomplishes for many what words, facts and figures cannot; in this piece lies proof that I actually taught this student this semester.

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