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Process

Vusumuzi Maduna
Margaret Fuller House

Title: Inner City Totem II
Date: 1983
Material: Steel, landscape timber
Dimensions: 10' x 32" x 10"
Location: 71 Cherry Street, by the front entrance.

Seeing and experiencing

Some artists present images that are immediately recognizable, while others use simplified forms to suggest things we can see or feel. When artists take this second approach, they are working in a language of abstraction. Vusumuzi Maduna has chosen to work with geometric forms.

As you look at this piece, walk around it. Does it remind you of anything? How many different parts make up this totem? How are the parts joined together? What kinds of materials has the artist used? Where can you find these kinds of materials? Can you find them in your neighborhood? If so, where?

Do you think this specific site inspired Maduna's choice of materials? Look around. What materials do you see in the buildings and landscape around you? Can you describe the different textures that you notice? What shapes has the artist used? Are they straight? Curvy?

How have nature and time affected this piece?

How does the title, Inner City Totem, contribute to your understanding of the piece?

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Onsite

What you will need:
Sketchpad or paper, pen or pencil.

Sketch the various shapes that make up this piece. List as many materials as you see.

 

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Hand-on

Drawing
What you will need:
15 pieces of paper (all cut the same size), pencil or charcoal.

The human face is a subject that many artists have tackled in one form or another. Faces can be depicted realistically or very abstractly.

Look into a mirror and study your face. Draw what you see without looking down at your paper or lifting the pencil or charcoal up from the paper. This is called a "blind contour drawing." When you're done, it might look funny, with parts of the face in the "wrong" place. But that's okay. There is no wrong way to draw a face.

Now, without the mirror, create a series of ten one-minute drawings of your face (you can look at the paper). Experiment! Draw your face using only slash marks or shapes (circles, triangles, etc.).

When you're finished, spread your drawings on a table and compare all your faces. What looks similar? Which differ? Which do you like best? Why?

Three demensional
What you will need:
Long, vertical piece of paper or wood, pens, paint and found materials.

Totem sculptures have a rich history. (IMAGE) For some cultures, the totem offers protection. For others, it represents power.

Create a totem for your community. Think of a compelling story that took place within your neighborhood. Convey the story by decorating the paper or piece of wood with symbols. Use paint and found materials.

Now make a tiny totem. Does it have the same impact as your larger totem? Now stack furniture and large objects to make a giant totem. Which totem do you think is the most powerful?

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