Building a Nation

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BUILDING A NATION Visual Analysis Assessment to Contextualize the Story of America



  • Read Angela Ales' Biography (offered in English y Espanol)
  • Watch Ales' video introduction to Building a Nation (offered in English y Espanol)
  • Read the Visual Analysis Rubric
  • Read the Visual Analysis Questions, then carefully examine the expanded image of Building a Nation (located below the Visual Analysis Questions)
  • Answer the Visual Analysis Questions to help you organize your evaluation
  • Cite at least three historical references to support your interpretation of who is reflected in Building a Nation
  • Follow the guidelines in the rubric as you compose your visual analysis



Angela Ales' Biography (English y Espanol)



Angela Ales is an artist born in Barranquilla, Colombia, of Andalusian and Lebanese descent. Ales moved to the United States in 1984 and graduated from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. She received her MFA from the Miami International University of Art and Design. She is a dedicated student of philosophies and world religions and her spirituality has emerged as central themes in her work. She has participated in over 30 collective and individual exhibitions in the US and Central and South America. She is also an accomplished Educator with 20 years of teaching experience. For additional information on Ales' body of work, please visit




Angela  M. Ales es una artista nacida en Barranquilla, Colombia, de descendecia Andaluza y Libanesa. Ales se traslado a los Estados Unidos en 1984 y en 1993 se graduo de Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art en la ciudad de New York. Recibio su maestria en Bellas Artes en la Universidad Internacional de Arte y Diseno en Miami. Es una ardua estudiante de las filosofias y religiones mundiales, lo cual se manifiesta como tema central en su obra. Ha participado en mas de 30 exhibiciones individuales y colectivas en los Estados Unidos, en Centro y Sur America. Para obtener informacion adicional sobre elcuerpo de trabajo de Ales, visite


Visual Analysis Rubric

"Evaluation" refers to analysis of the form, use, and function of Ales' artistic techniques to convey meaning in her painting Building a Nation. The Visual Analysis Guiding Questions support the analysis process (listed below Building a Nation expanded image). 


"Interpretation" refers to analysis of who is reflected in Building a Nation, what ideas are represented, and citing evidence to support those ideas and conclusions. 



  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Strength of Evaluation

*Reference at least 9 of the 14 guiding questions 

Visual analysis is weak and/or repetitive Visual analysis is nearly complete, but lacking sufficient details Visual analysis is well-developed with sufficient details

Depth and Variety of Evidence

*Include at least three (3) cited sources as evidence to support your conclusions

Interpretation contains little to no detail or cited evidence Interpretation needs more cited evidence to support analysis and conclusions Interpretation demonstrates thoughtful analysis and strong conclusions with sufficient cited evidence


Visual Analysis Guiding Questions

  1. What are the main colors?
  2. What mood do the colors convey?
  3. Why might Ales have chosen these colors? What do they represent?
  4. What is the direction of the light?
  5. What is the significance of how light is represented and reflected?
  6. What forms, figures, and objects do you notice?
  7. What do they represent?
  8. What effect do the forms, figures, and objects create?
  9. How does Ales make your eye move around the canvas?
  10. Is there one place where your eye always ends up?
  11. What does this movement and organization make you think about the figures or objects depicted?
  12. Describe the texture.
  13. Why might Ales have chosen the title Building a Nation?
  14. What ideas are conveyed in Building a Nation that are connected to your contextualization of the American Civil Rights Movement?