Tim Rollins and Visual Literacy

Tim Rollins is an artist and arts educator based in New York City. While Rollins was teaching middle school art in the Bronx, he became an after school mentor to students, providing a safe space for them to discuss, analyze, and create collaborative works of art. In 1982, he formed the Art and Knowledge Workshop with a group of students called Kids of Survival (K.O.S). Rollins and K.O.S have exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.

Understanding art as being an interdisciplinary practice, Rollins and his students interpreted well-known works of literature. Through sharing their ideas about the text, the students identified key themes that they felt related to their personal experiences, their community, and socio-cultural spectrum at large (as they experienced it). In doing so, they appropriated “the classics” to make powerful statements on events from everyday life. I find the students’ responses in the film below to be incredibly enlightening:

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