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The Protagonist of an Endless Story, 1993, Angel Rodríguez-Díaz

Latino Leaders: Defining and representing heroism

“Our life evokes our character.”
                        -Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth

Heroes face a problem and succeed in coming to terms with it.  Their ability to sacrifice themselves for the greater good has inspired great works of art, both visual and literary.  Contemporary Latino heroes, including César Chávez, Sandra Cisneros, and Frida Kahlo, are the subject of artworks in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Studying the hero’s journey through the eyes of artists provides an opportunity for students to understand what it takes to be a hero themselves.

In this lesson, students study the different ways that artists represent cultural heroes.  They then design a poster honoring their own heroes—a replacement for the usual posters of athletes and musicians that hang in their bedrooms.

Social Studies/Visual Art, grades 6-12