Project dates: 7 March-28 March. Due 30 March 2011.

Goal: Create inspired idea journals based on concepts learned from study of traditional African art.

Characteristics of African art: Art has to do with almost every aspect of life. There is no one “African” style. Most African art has a purpose other than just being looked at. Contemporary African artists may work in traditional modes, follow current trends or have no reference to other art at all.

Most used materials: clay, cloth, shells, feathers, textiles, wood, ivory, horns, bones, wood, metal.

Project: Create an Africa Idea Journal.

Day 1

Paint book covers! Watercolor paint a large sheet of paper. Try different approaches.

Day 2

PowerPoint images of traditional African art. In depth look at bronze head of queen mother, Benin.  Finish painting cover papers or pasting in matboard. 

The queen mother was the “head” of the government.

How can you tell from this photograph that this head is made from a hard material?

Can you tell what it is made from?

Bronze is a metal that can be cast in a mold. Does anyone know how this process works?

Do you think this is exactly what the woman looked like in real life? Why or why not?

What details help you understand that she was an important woman in her society?

What things now show that someone is important in society?

Day 3

In depth look at mid-20th century Ndebele jocolo. Finish pasting boards to inside covers of painted paper and begin tearing pages down to correct size.

jocolo, or apron from Ndebele society, South Africa

What is this?

Is the design symmetrical or asymmetrical?

What material did the artist use to create the colored design?

What does the image across the top of the apron resemble?

Day 4

In depth look at African Bamana HeaddressFinish tearing paper to size. Poke holes in editions of pages, prepare paper for sketchbook.

What animal is depicted here?

It's pronounced BAH-mah-nah

What animal is depicted here?

What kind of artwork would you say this is?

How would you feel if you had to dance while wearing this headdress?

Why do you think the Bamana people wore these headresses?

Which features of the antelope are especially prominent in the headdress?

Day 5

Sew page editions into covers.

Have projected an artwork by Betye Saar.

Ask students to bring 5 personally important artifacts.

Show mine for example; brooch, picture, magnet, bookmark, button. Don’t need to explain yet.

Betye Saar

about the unknown
has no boundaries.
Symbols, images, place and cultures merge.
time slips away.
The stars, the cards, the mystic vigil
may hold the answers.
By shifting the point of view
an inner spirit is released.
Free to create.

Betye Saar


Day 6

Collect student artifacts. Talk about mine how they’re important.

Day 7

Have photocopied artifacts ready to be tape transferred. Show tape transfer method, arrangement of collage.

PowerPoint- Art of Africa


About Ms. O

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