Darwin Day

2009 marked an important year for Darwin Day celebrations. The year was the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and it also marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.  In the high school I was teaching at our faculty was meeting regularly to discuss how to draw on the paradigm shift brought by Darwin’s discoveries into focus and how to present and generate new perspectives. As a visual arts teacher I decided to create curriculum around the idea of hybridization.  I presented students with a rich history of visual culture around notions of hybridity from cultural hybrids, to hybrid cars, to genetic modification, to cyborgs.  Students provided examples of hybridity in their own identities and bodies; sharing stories of mixed heritage and medical histories that included additions of machinery (pacemakers, plates, screws) as a means to healing.

Hybrid Species Project

The project began with students choosing three species to use to create pastel studies. Students were given scientific illustrations as reference material and lessons in blocking out forms, visual editing and pastel layering were instructed to support the drawing process. After students completed their drawings they were asked to make one or two hybrid creatures constructed from parts of their drawings. Below are some examples of their creatures.