Artistic Explorations of Identity

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments


Students were asked to select or create a one-act play that examined the theme of identity. This student decided to write a play about how people struggle to reconcile how they view themselves with how others view them.

After writing the play, this student was inspired to continue his exploration of identity. Over the next couple of years, he created additional plays, artwork, and costumes. His body of work explored his own identity, how we project or mask our identities, the role of art in developing and expressing one’s identity, and artists’ identity in relation to their art.

After graduation, he has continued the examination of these themes in his creative work and is currently working to produce one of his plays.


Teacher Reflection

During a class assignment, this student developed a deep interest in the theme identity and decided to build a collection of creative work. His dedication to this work included a continual revision process focused on improvement. He continuously looked for ways to expand his thinking, to challenge his own assumptions, and to develop projects that go above and beyond. He created work in multiple disciplines that impacted himself as well as the school and local communities. He took pride in his work and continues to develop this work after graduation.

Student Work Samples

The following drawings reflect how hockey goalies play with their identities and emotions essentially hidden behind their masks, unlike their teammates who wear facemasks that allow their faces, and their emotions, to be seen. In the drawings, the student represents aspects of his own identity that are often hidden by the various masks he wears.

Picture of masks

The student created the costume below to represent how people use costumes to convey identity.

The student completed portraits of artists he artistically identified with including Robert Downey Jr as Ironman; The Weeknd; and Lin Manuel Miranda. The artists were selected due to their ability to create and convey emotions through their creative work.


Student Reflection

I have found art a way to put myself into all of my work, exploring themes I found interesting, using different mediums to express myself and sharing the knowledge I have accrued as part of my journey with my peers and audience. I have often turned what would have been regular projects into thought provoking assignments intended to raise interesting questions. For example, I compared historical figures to characters from popular fiction in Social Studies essays and political cartoons (e.g., an essay “Louis Riel is Batman”), used different mediums to turn scientific diagrams into edible 3D models (e.g., a plant cell made of Jell-O), and parodied popular songs to bring a new life to dead presentations (e.g., Light and Lens - Thrift Shop parody). I think the challenge of trying to present information in a creative way has not only bettered my own understanding of the material but helped my peers to understand it better as well.

In Drama class, we were given the opportunity to perform one-act plays as part of a competition. I wrote, directed, choreographed, made music for, and acted in a 40-minute original rap musical, Painter and the Painted (PDF). In the play, an artist “who never had a chance to truly shine, now gets his chance when one of his works of art, one he doesn't like, makes him famous.” He and his creation debate the question of who made who. It explores the questions, Is the artist’s creation a true reflection of himself? and “What is the relationship between an artist and his art?

I had to learn and utilize new art forms, memorize lyrics and dance routines, build large-scale props, and perform, all within the very limiting time constraints of a month. I achieved this by doing countless hours of research and rehearsal, and sometimes, creative corner-cutting. Where I could not bring my vision to life, I would improvise, adapt, and improve within the new found art forms I was learning.  

In the first performance I had to improvise song lyrics and choreography on stage due to unforeseen challenges but the audience applauded. Audience members seemed interested in the intense debate between the creator and the created in the play. I developed even more dedication to my craft following this success.

I later wrote a larger scale original two-act play titled Masterpiece (PDF), and worked with a peer to produce it. I found that directing and organizing a production with a larger cast provided scheduling, efficiency, and social conflicts. I had to creatively arrange scenes and adapt the play to meet the needs of the cast and crew, as well as work to make production run as smoothly as possible. We successfully did a string of performances that raised money for the school’s drama program.

Art is integral to finding oneself. My goal is to showcase that to my audience.


Au fil du temps, je suis capable de créer un ensemble d’œuvres créatives dans des domaines qui m’intéressent ou me passionnent.

Au fil du temps, je suis capable de trouver des idées très originales et déstabilisantes et de les développer afin de former un ensemble d’œuvres qui retentissent sur ma collectivité et au-delà. Je remets naturellement en doute les a priori et j’ai recours à des stratégies réfléchies (écriture ou dessin libre, méditation, usage de métaphores et d’analogies) pour trouver de nouvelles idées de façon intuitive. Je suis profondément attaché à mes valeurs et à une esthétique personnelles et je possède une motivation profonde pour persévérer pendant des années au besoin afin de développer mes idées. c


J’évalue et utilise des données soigneusement choisies pour les interpréter, trouver d’autres solutions, points de vue et conséquences et porter un jugement. Je suis capable d’évaluer mes réflexions et de les moduler.

Je pose des questions et propose des jugements, des conclusions et des interprétations fondés sur des données rassemblées par moi-même ou par d’autres. Je suis flexible et ouvert d’esprit; je suis capable d’expliquer plus d’un point de vue et d’en examiner les conséquences. Je rassemble, sélectionne, évalue et synthétise de l’information. J’examine d’autres approches et fais des choix stratégiques. Je prends des risques et j’ai conscience que je ne réussirai peut-être pas immédiatement. J’évalue mes réflexions, cherche à connaître l’opinion des autres, réévalue mon travail et apporte les modulations nécessaires. Je représente ce que j’ai appris et mes objectifs et fais le rapprochement avec mes expériences antérieures. J’accepte les commentaires constructifs et je m’en sers pour avancer.


Je communique de sorte à produire l’effet voulu, sous des formes bien structurées et efficaces pour mon auditoire et pour atteindre mon objectif. Je participe de manière réfléchie aux discussions. Je fais la synthèse de mes propres réflexions et de celles des autres, je les approfondis et je les transforme. Je suis capable d’introduire de nombreux messages dans mes communications; je sais que l’auditoire se servira de ses connaissances et de ses expériences pour dégager un sens. Je montre que je comprends et maîtrise les formes et technologies que j’utilise; je suis capable d’évaluer la réaction de l’auditoire et de puiser dans mon répertoire de stratégies pour amplifier l’effet que je recherche. Je suis capable d’acquérir de l’information soigneusement choisie de sources variées, d’en faire l’analyse critique et de l’intégrer.


Je peux constater comment mes expériences de vie ont contribué à faire de moi la personne que je suisJe reconnais que mon identité continuera d’évoluer.

Je reconnais la façon dont mes forces m’aident à surmonter les difficultés et je sais que ces dernières peuvent devenir une occasion de grandir. J’ai conscience que je continuerai d’acquérir de nouvelles habiletés, aptitudes et forces. Je peux décrire l’influence que mes expériences de vie, mes antécédents familiaux, mes origines et l’endroit où je vis (ou j’ai vécu) ont eue sur mes valeurs et mes choix. Je sais que mon apprentissage est continu, que ma perception de moi-même et de mon identité continuera d’évoluer et que mes expériences de vie pourraient m’amener à me reconnaître dans de nouvelles collectivités ou dans de nouveaux endroits.