Culture in Art / Andrew Hem

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Secondary Social Studies

Culture in Art / Andrew Hem

Andrew Hem was born during his parents’ flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rogue genocide. His upbringing was influenced by the rural heritage of his family and the urban environment of Los Angeles, which is where his family lives now. Being positioned between these two cultures fostered his love for art. His art style is influenced by graffiti, as well as tribal and supernatural imagery. He describes his compositions, or art, as dreamlike memories inspired by personal experiences.
Watch the video and answer the questions below using information from the video and biography:

Evaluate and list some of the aspects in this mural:

5. Extension Activity: Create your own drawing based on a dreamlike memory or past experience. Try to incorporate aspects of your own cultural heritage in your drawing.

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Have you seen any of the murals in Lynn before?
Does studying the murals make you want to go and see them in person?
Do you think having murals in the city makes it special?
Did the mural(s), the symbolism, or the artist’s stories make you think about your life and experiences?
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Secondary Social Studies

Andrew Hem - Lesson Plan


Integrate visual information (e.g., charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on discipline-specific topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


  • Identify the meaning of culture and various components that can make up a culture.
  • Describe how our cultural background influences our lives, including the art we create.
  • Analyze aspects of culture present within the mural.
  • Vocabulary: culture, cultural background, genocide, heritage


  1. Class discussion (create brainstorm) on the definition of culture and the various
    components that make up culture (language, food, religious practices, clothing, etc)
  2. Think, pair, share to discuss the influence of cultural backgrounds in everyday life,
    including art
  3. Pre – teach genocide, heritage
  4. Read Hem’s bio
  5. Watch video of Andrew Hem
  6. Evaluate the aspects of culture present in his mural (individually, in partners, or groups)
  7. Extension activity: create your own mural