Sunday, 28 February 2016

Martin Ramirez Hidden Worlds

Martin Ramirez was a Mexican farmer whose property and livelihood were destroyed by the Cristero rebellion. He wandered into the United States where, confused and unable to make himself understood, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He spent the rest of his life in such institutions, filling his time by drawing compulsively on scraps of paper. His work gives an insight into his private world, filled with concentric arcs, trains, and figures seemingly trapped in empty rooms.

I've never taught a lesson on Ramirez before but his work really fits with the theme of 'Hidden Worlds' which I'm soon to introduce to my GCSE students. I want my students to consider the autobiographical nature of Ramirez's work, seeing it as a depiction of a nomadic journey culminating in incarceration in a sterile, clinical environment.

Each student will draw a Ramirez style piece in fineliner. I'd like each image to include; a centralized figure, a train, concentric circular lines, straight lines, one opaque black region and two regions shaded into subtle tones of grey. Students will have a variety of Ramirez's original pieces to take inspiration from, as well as my two examples below.

Work will be assessed on student's imagination, arrangement of the different elements on the page, and how well the piece captures the spirit of Ramirez's vision.

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