Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasure 4 (performance documentation), 2015. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. ©Ana Teresa Fernández

Absence Through Colors

Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasure 4 (performance documentation), 2015. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. ©Ana Teresa Fernández

Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasure 4 (performance documentation), 2015. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. ©Ana Teresa Fernández

Ana Teresa Fernández

Performance is a large part of Ana Teresa Fernández’s work along with her Mexican American identity. Erasure, consisting of both large scale paintings and video is her reaction to the abduction of 43 male students in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico that have not been seen since their disappearance on September 26, 2014.

When something’s no longer there it intrigues people. People want to find out more about it. They want to see it again. Through absence there’s a yearning.

— Ana Teresa Fernández

Guiding Questions:

  • How can a basic concept like color, lead to critical thinking and analysis?
  • Have your students analyze why the artist chose black (absence of color) rather than a different color.
  • Have your students think about another color and decide whether it would have been more or less effective than black.
  • How could you encourage students to explore a current event and create an expression of what’s happening?
  • How could you explore absence or removal in other ways through art?

Tip: Have students create their own piece focused on the idea of absence or removal. Let them decide what form they will use (poem, drawing, photo, etc.).

Related Creative Activities

Lesson Plan

Weaving Words

Students will look at the Bird and Cornstalk Rug in pairs and discuss Yellowhair’s inspiration from both natural and man-made forms. They will then engage in a creative writing exercise that develops their awareness of symbolism in their daily lives.

Lesson Plan

Creativity & Identity

Students will learn about Moyo Ogundipe’s creative process and concept of self through his painting Soliloquy: Life’s Fragile Fictions. Through journaling, large and small group discussions, and painting, they will explore aspects of their own identities.

Lesson Plan

Triumph in Love

Students will examine the artistic qualities of the paintings, identify different entities or elements which triumph in contemporary life, and develop and illustrate a written piece about an element or entity that triumphs in their lives.