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Analysis of an Artwork by Maya Lin

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Earth and Space Sciences +2 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

Chinese American designer and artist Maya Lin (b. 1959) achieved national recognition as a Yale University undergraduate student when her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial won a national competition. 

In this activity, students will analyze a unique artwork-filled room designed by Maya Lin, first using only a still visual with little context, then a hyperlapse video of the artwork's installation,  then the artist herself discussing  her process, materials used, and vision. Students will make predictions based on visuals, gradually learn about the context of the artwork, and reflect on how their perception of the artwork changed with the addition of new information. 

This activity can be used as an entry point into studying Maya Lin's artwork and other artworks inspired by experiences with the natural environment. This activity opens with a Project Zero See-Think-Wonder routine and asks learners to look closely, prior to revealing additional contextual information. To learn more about other Asian Pacific American Artists, visit this collection: https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/asian-pacific-american-artists/bW68eE1p6kHVzsC7#r

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Keywords: Chesapeake Bay, Maya Lin, Asian American, marbles, Renwick Gallery, waterways

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