Portraits of Power, Grade 10, 2013

Throughout history, many portraits have been used to depict wealth, power, and heroism that have left an enduring legacy through the preservation of their image through art. The subjects of these paintings adorned themselves with expensive ornaments and dressed in an elaborately patterned wardrobe to exhibit and assert their power. During this project, students investigated the concept of “legacy,” and how power and history are connected. They reflected on their identity in relation to their cultural heritage, and created a design that symbolizes what imprint they would like to make on the world as their personal legacy. They printed these symbols on various fabrics onto ornamental tapestries, pillows and drapery- mimicking the extravagant worldly possessions of the European nobility depicted throughout Western art history. These beautiful belongings are not made of the finest silks, but of burlap and discarded fabric scraps. Yet, the painstaking process of beautifying these materials causes us to rethink what we “value” in material belongings.

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