The body mapping art project can begin with students viewing a series of artworks created by traditional and/or contemporary artists who combine visual imagery with text to explore personal/cultural identity. The artists we’ve worked with in the past include Mark Bradford's merchant poster series, portraits by Sharin Nashat and paintings by Pala Pothupitiye. Local artists and popular culture are great places to go to for ideas. The website Art21 also has many artists to refer to for artmaking projects.
After viewing examples of other artists who work with text and imagery, students complete the I Am Poem (template in English/Tamil attached). This poem becomes inspiration for the visual parts of the body map art. After completing the poem, have students turn over their poem. Create 4-8 squares by folding the paper. In each square have them sketch visual symbols based on the poem.
On a large piece of paper (you can glue smaller pieces of paper together to create a large body-sized canvas) have a friend trace the outline of the student's body. You can also work small and focus on, for example, an outline of a pair of hands. Inside the outline of the body or hands, begin to design the art project using imagery and text informed by the poem.
Materials can be as simple as pencils and markers to mixed media that includes paint, college and other materials. See the Body Mapping Projects on our website for student examples from Algeria, Kosovo, Sri Lanka and the USA.
For a more in-depth process around Body Mapping and Healing, see Body Mapping for Advocacy Tool Kit by Shirley Gunn, out of the International Coalition Sites of Conscience
For the most up-to-date information regarding our work and projects, check out our website and social media sites. We will be using this space to comment and post projects, activities and conversations about our work.