James Córdova's San Hipólito sculpture in progress

Culture and Community

James Córdova's San Hipólito sculpture in progress.

James Córdova

James Córdova is one of four artists who participated in Cuatro [4]: A series of artist interactions. Each of the four artists brought our pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art collections to life through their own artistic practice. James used his practice as a santero, an artist who creates images of saints, to activate the collections and help us see the collections in a new way.

And they just spoke to me. It was a visual language that spoke to me. It didn’t just speak to me, it spoke to the artists who made them. It spoke to a lot of locals who were there to admire and purchase the art. I could see that it was a language that a lot of people could speak and made sense to them. And I knew I was part of that group. In other words, it made me feel like part of a community, a cultural community.

— James Córdova

Guiding Questions:

  • How could you use group time to brainstorm different communities the children feel a part of?
    • Examples: school community, family community, sports communities, etc.
  • What is an object that would represent one of their communities? If that object could speak, what would it say?
  • What are ways that you “belong” to your community?

TIP: Have a variety of items that could represent a “community”. These items could help prompt ideas and conversation.

Related Creative Activities

Portrait of a man
Lesson Plan

A Portrait of One’s Own

After spending time exploring aspects of the Ancestor Portrait and the importance of ancestor portraits in the Chinese tradition, students will create an ancestor portrait using mixed media materials and present it to the class.

Lesson Plan

Combining Human and Animal Forms

Students will use visual observation skills to carefully examine the Assyrian Bird-Headed Deity limestone relief and explore the movement, sounds, and traits of different animals. They will first explore these aspects in humans and birds of prey, as seen in the limestone relief, and will then do the same with “animals” they create from two or more animals. This lesson enables children to draw upon previous knowledge and imagination in order to act out the movement, sounds, and other traits of the animals they create.