Museum Hours
Thu–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Assembling Personal Narrative

Objective: Students will: 1.) Observe and discuss how artist Santiago Bose uses cultural symbols and artistic methods as post-colonial critique. 2.) Create an assemblage using found objects that conveys their personal identities. 3.) Interview a family member to uncover a photograph or symbol that recalls their heritage and include this in their assemblages. 4.) Write a first person narrative telling a story about their assemblages.

Common Core Standards: W4-5.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources. W 6-12.10: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Content Standards (California): HSS 10.4: Students analyze patterns of global change in the era of New Imperialism in at least two of the following regions or countries: Africa, Southeast Asia, China, India, Latin America, and the Philippines. HSS 11.4: Students trace the rise of the United States to its role as a world power in the twentieth century. VPA/VA 5.2.7: Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work of art. VPA/VA 9-12.1.5: Analyze the material used by a given artist and describe how its use influences the meaning of the work. VPA/VA9-12.4.1: Articulate how personal beliefs, cultural traditions, and current social, economic, and political contexts influence the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.

Materials: Artwork: Native Song; Other: small box; frame (small wooden frames from IKEA); personal photographs; personal objects; magazines and newspapers; glue; paper; scissors

Overview: Artist Santiago Bose addresses themes of colonialism and nationalism in his mixed-media works. In Native Song, he surrounds images of Filippino soldiers from the Phillippine-American War with covers from popular Filipino musical scores. Then, he layers a hand, knife, cross, and symbols and text on the photograph, recalling Spanish colonization.


  1. Discuss Santiago Bose’s Native Song with your students:
    • Observe and Describe: Have students look at Native Song for at least one minute.
    • Ask: What do you notice?
    • Interpret: This artwork combines images of two soldiers from the Philippine-American War, alongside text in the indigenous language and a cross recalling the colonization of the Philippines by Spain. Ask: What do these images mean to you? What do you think they might have meant to the artist? Have students support their interpretations with evidence.
    • Draw a Conclusion: Santiago Bose used inexpensive, local materials and found objects as part of his social criticism. Ask: What message do you think he was trying to convey?
    • Connect: Santiago Bose used art as a way to criticize the colonization of the Philippines by the Spanish and the United States, and as a statement against traditional western ideals that were defining the global contemporary art movement. Ask: Have you ever felt like you were judged based on another culture’s criteria or values? Explain.
      • ​Have students interview a family member to uncover a photograph, symbol, or memory that reflects your heritage.
      • Then, have students create an assemblage using found objects that illustrates their ultural identity. They may use family photographs, meaningful symbols and objects, text, and at least one found object.
      • Finally, have students write a narrative in the first person, telling the story conveyed in their assemblage.