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Christina Ramberg Head

Lesson Plan | Christina Ramberg: Cut Paper Collages – MMoCA


Head, n.d., screenprint 


Visual Art, Language Arts, Social Studies 


Kristine Gruninger, art educator 

Essential Questions

  1. How does art help us understand the lives of people of different times, places, and cultures? 

Grade Level



  • Students will practice observational and contour drawing, using elements and principles of design with focus on line, color, texture and contrast. 


This activity focuses on awareness of the rich variety and expressiveness of hairstyles in the United States, many of which trace their origins to African cultures. Modern day hairstyles will be used as a source of inspiration to create an artwork in the style of Christina Ramberg. Introduce the work of Christina Ramberg, specifically her painting, Head.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you noticed someone’s hairstyle when you were at home, school, or the grocery store, or walking in your neighborhood or in your community? What hairstyles have you noticed?
  2. Does a person’s hairstyle have importance? How have you felt after getting a haircut/style you really liked? Or after getting one you didn’t like?
  3. Can a person’s hairstyle communicate something about themselves? It’s very important to respect another person’s choice of hairstyle.
  4. Do you think we can learn something about another culture in history by looking at their hairstyles? What do hairstyles say about our culture?
  5. What could be some reasons why Christina Ramberg chose to use hair for the subject of her artwork?
  6. How does Christina Ramberg’s portrayal of the back of a head compare to a more realistic depiction? In what ways has she simplified the image? Why might she have chosen to do this? Why do you suppose she chose to show the back of the head?
  7. Have you noticed hairstyles in your community that could be used as inspiration for a work of art?
  8. Did you know that many hairstyles we see today originated in the country of Africa long ago? (Provide examples of traditional African hairstyles.)
  9. How can people contribute to awareness and understanding of their lives and the lives of their communities through engaging with art?


Part 1: The Head
9 x 12-inch sheets of construction paper in dark colors, 9 x 12-inch pieces of florescent colored papers, scissors, paper edger scissors, glue sticks

Demonstrate how to draw the back of the head by using a simple contour line to show the outline of the shape of the head and hair

Using 9 x 12-inch construction paper, have students draw the back of the head of a classmate. Option:  Students can make changes to the outline to show a particular hairstyle if they choose.

When satisfied, cut out and set aside.

Part 2: The Hair

Look at the various types of hairstyles drawn by the students—for example, straight chin length, wavy shoulder length, short hair next to long hair, words or designs in shaved hair. Look at how Christina Ramberg used color and line to create detail in the hair she depicted in her painting. Discuss how she achieved the effect of reflected light on a complex arrangement of curls and rolls of hair.

Choose a color of paper that contrasts with the color of the paper chosen for the head. With paper-edger scissors, begin to cut strips of paper to represent strands of hair. Choose a paper edger scissors that would best show the texture of the type of hair for your artwork—a bumpy edge for wavy hair, for example.

Play with different edges, lengths and thicknesses of the strips. Think of them as lines.

Arrange the lines on the head in a way that demonstrates the student’s chosen hairstyle and adhere with a glue stick.

This activity could be adapted for younger students by using mixed-media materials and/or yarn for the hair, rather than paper. To adapt for students who are ready for a challenge, have them cut out a separate shape for ponytails, pigtails, buns, etc. that would be overlapped on the head.

Concluding Discussion

  • Since working on this art project, have you become more aware of and sensitive to other people’s hairstyles in your community? Why?

On hair and identity:


9 x 12-inch sheets of construction paper in dark colors, 9 x 12-inch pieces of florescent colored papers, scissors, paper edger scissors, glue sticks 


Surrealism, Chicago Imagist, scale, proportion, juxtaposition, foreground, middle ground, background 


Language Arts, Social Studies 


National Core Arts Standards

VA:Cn11.1.3, VA:Cn11.1.4 / VA:Cr2.1.3, VA:Cr2.1.4 / VA:Re7.2.3, VA:Re7.2.4

Common Core State Standards


Wisconsin State Standards

Social Studies: E.4.11

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