James Cordova at work in his studio

Invisible Artists

James Cordova at work in his studio

James Córdova

As an art historian, James Córdova studies art created during colonialism in the Americas. He explains his fascination with cultural mixing in art and his desire to bring the contributions by indigenous artists to the public eye.

As destructive and horrible the conquest was for many indigenous groups, they survived. And more than survived, they helped create a brand new way of thinking about the world that has been invisible to modern viewers for such a long time. So I wanted to call attention to those indigenous contributions and show how they blended with European ways of thinking and European systems of knowledge and how those kinds of cultural mixes still matter for us today.

— James Córdova

Guiding Questions:

  • How can students explore art created during times of colonialism?
  • How can you encourage students to critically analyze the art and find different cultural influences?

Tip: Choose a few different art objects from the same geographic location and have students discuss the changes over time and what cultural influences appear.

Related Creative Activities

Lesson Plan

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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.