African Masks


To tie in to their upcoming Social Studies unit on Africa, Middle Schoolers will create traditional African masks. The mask project follows 1) a printmaking art project using Adrinka symbols and 2) a unit on making Mud Cloth and Kente cloth designs.


Students will discover the meaning of African cultural symbols and designs; become familiar with different African countries/beliefs/art, discuss history of masks. Students will choose a design that ties into a concept of a traditional African mask.


Students will use foam board, cardboard, tape, paper mache, paint and natural 3D embellishments such as twine, stones, etc., to create their 3D masks. They will view slide shows, visit web sites, and refer to printed samples during the process.

Other Information

In order for students to really understand art from another culture, they need to know more about the people who created it and that we cannot judge or understand it without that prior knowledge. What was important to that culture at that time in history? What materials were available to them. I found it most interesting that the closest the Adinkra people come to having a word for art is \’hand thought.\’ I love the concept and have put that on our bulletin board.

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