Rita L. Irwin


Arterial and life connections for art educators. Arteries are muscular vessels carrying blood away from the heart to every part of the body, eventually bringing the blood back to the heart before venturing out again. Metaphorically, these pathways locate the heart as a home from which travel extends, repeatedly, expectantly as life itself. Symbolically, arterial connections pulsate with the notion of art, expressing art through life through art. To many people, and particularly Aboriginal peoples, art translated as cultural performance is found in the very pathways and bloodlines of their geographies and histories. However, these arterial connections are available to all of us, especially art educators, as we come to recognize our own pathways and bloodlines. Sharing stories of lives, cultural roots and routed experiences, illustrates complex identity building in the late twentieth century. In this article I talk about a trip to a Paiwan aboriginal community in southern Taiwan and what I learned from/with these people. I hope this portrayal encourages others to reflect on their travel experiences in ways that may help to make classroom art experiences socioculturally diverse and politically engaged.


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