During Art class, Newton Collins Elementary School (NCES) students in Kindergarten through fifth grade learned about Mexican artist, Diego Rivera. Rivera created a visual memory of Mexico’s historic past and is considered one of the fathers of Mexican mural art and modern political art in Mexico.

Students had the opportunity to review Rivera’s famous sketched art pieces along with his larger community murals. To further educate students on Rivera, NCES art teacher Emily Woods used the book Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by author Duncan Tonatiuh who had previously visited the NCES campus to discuss another of his literary works. Once students had a greater understanding of Rivera and his accomplishments, they created a self-portrait mimicking the style and feel of Rivera’s sketching work.

Student’s self-portraits were created using pencil, traced with marker, and colored with multi-cultural crayons. The consistency of the media allowed the uniqueness of each portrait to show through. The mult-cultural crayons were especially meaningful as they allowed for individual expression of the diversity of each student while representing the student body as a whole.

“I enjoyed learning about Diego Rivera and his way of drawing. He was really creative and represented where he was from, Mexico,” said Cesar Gonzalez, a fifth-grade student at NCES. “I made my drawing with what I like to wear every day, an Adidas sweater, a Nike backpack, and joggers.  I wanted to represent Newton Collins Elementary like Diego represented Mexico.”

Rivera painted murals on public buildings so that art could be shared with the masses. The themes of the murals would portray Mexican identity at the time. NCES student-artists contributed their drawings to a community mural that hangs outside of the art room for all to enjoy.

NCES student drawing self-portrait Author Duncan Tonatiuh Visit to NCES Close up of student mural
Large student self-portrait at NCES