Learning duality with Persepolis

I've been a little behind on blogging and I apologize for that. I know there are some fans and educators who are still curious about my work so I'm hoping to get a little better about keeping a blogging schedule. In either case, I want to share some of the most recent activities in the "My Comics My Story" program.

At the start of every class we read from a familiar comic or graphic novel. For this session we read the first five or so pages of Persepolis. There is an image in Persepolis in which Marjane has an internal battle between staying true to her family's drive to learn about the sciences and seek justice in their society or to conform to the rules being set forth by the new state rulers that are strict and rely heavily on religious tradition. 

Image from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

After discussing the events that led up to Marjane's internal conflict, students drew parallels between Marjane's reality and their own. Their assignment was to vocalize or write about these parallels and then create a split image to go with it. Below is a picture of some of the students' work (my own is the one at the bottom). 

The idea for this assignment was passed down to me by my friend Silvia Gonzalez who herself is an art teacher in Chicago. The exercise was a practice in self reflection, uncovering identity, and turning words into images. Some of the students drew themselves while others created characters to represent themselves. Some students had elaborate colors to their drawings while others grew discontent at their ability to draw and marked through their entire work (as you can see mid left). On a more personal level I was able to see how the students viewed themselves and hear stories that I may not have heard other wise. On a more practical level I was also able to see reading, writing, drawing and general cognitive understandings of art that are going to continue to shape my session. 

On that note, my next post will have some pretty dope drawings of anime characters and Captain Underpants. Stay tuned =)