After looking at masks and headdresses in Africa, and their uses in ceremony and daily life, artists created their own paper sculpture headdresses, and the ceremony where it would be used. Animal symbolism could also be presented. Hats are constructed on a newspaper hat "armature". Hats can be supported by large cans (or deli containers) while in progress. Optional: purchase some wig forms for display.
Rationale for Teaching Lesson:
Students will learn about the use of headdresses in African cultures, and create a headdress celebrating a ritual or quality of their own.
1. Learn about how headdresses have been used in African cultures.
2. Make connections to their own culture through a brainstorm process where they create a headdress to communicate: Friendship ideals, honor someone in their community with a festival, show characteristics of an important person in their community or country, or show the importance of something they do in their daily life.
3. Use paper sculpture techniques.
4. Understand how the Elements of Art and Principles of design can be used to communicate specific ideas: Color, Shape, Texture, Line & Pattern.
New York State Learning Standards:
Standard 1: Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts and participate in various roles in the arts.
Standard 2: Students will be knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.
Standard 3: Students will respond critically to a variety of works in the arts, connecting the individual to other works and to respond to other aspects of human endeavor and thought.
Standard 4: Students will develop and understanding of the personal and cultural force that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.
How the Standards are addressed in this lesson:
1. Students will create a headdress which communicates a specific idea using paper sculpture and the Elements and Principles of Art
2. Students will use animals to represent their concepts in a paper sculpture, using references from the Internet and books.
3. Students will look at and discuss headdresses in African culture, brainstorm their ideas in writing, and reflect on their finished work of art in writing through an Artist Statement.
4. Students will create a headdress that explores the African rituals that headdresses are used in, through connections with their own culture.
Gelede: Art and Female Power among the Yoruba- A sophisticated art historical analysis of a single African aesthetic tradition. Oruba masks and drumming are covered as well as pictures of
gelede masks and information on ceremonies performed at the Gelede.
Powerful Headdresses: Africa and Asia - You can pre-order this great book. 120 African and Asian headdresses come to life in marvelous reproductions. Made by remarkably skilled craftsmen, each distinctive form of headwear has an opulence and symbolism of its own. Constructed with plant materials such as fibers, seeds, leaves, and flowers, as well as feathers, shells, teeth, and fur, each of these articles was designated for a different member of society.
VARIATION: Use tag board/cardboard as base for paper mache and
painting of headdress – will need much more time!
presentation and brainstorm (1 class – finish for homework)
Use PP to discuss headdresses in African cultures.
Use Brainstorm sheets with Artist Choices to think through
what the headdress the students create can communicate
Finish brainstorm sheets for HW.
Verbal and through sheets.
Segment 2: Sketch ideas using color pencils (1-2 classes)
Discuss use of Elements of Art: how can shapes, color, line, textures, patterns communicate animal characteristics for the headdress?
Discuss the use of references available. If they are looking for something specific, then they can use the computer.
3: Newspaper hats, demo paper sculpture techniques (1 class)
Demo beginning – Make a newspaper hat by folding newspaper
sheet in half, and folding the corners in, then folding
each side up and stapling.
Decide which way you want your headdress to face sideways or facing you. Draw a body shape on a large sheet of colored tag, and cut through two sheets at once. If they are too thick then cut one, and trace the other.
Demo various sculpture techniques: discuss shapes again,
accordion folds, using tabs, curling… Demo gluing
Prop newspaper hats on containers and begin sculpture
Verbal – Review sculpture techniques and artist choices
Segment 4: Paper sculptures (6-8 classes)
Review sculpture techniques and Elements and Principles
Directions: Read through all the choices below, reviewing how headdresses
are used in African cultures.
Then choose one choice to brainstorm for your own
headdress and fill in the questions on page 2.
Artist Choice #1
The Bamileke people wear the elephant mask with leopard spots in ceremonies to inspire respect for their rulers. List the characteristics you think are important in a leader in our society. What animals would you include in a headdress for a powerful person in your community to show that these characteristics?
Use these ideas to make a sketch for your own headdress for royalty or for a special person in your community. It could be a president, governor, or mayor. Add features from the animals that you wish to include. For example, the large eyes of an owl could represent wisdom. Use colors that you feel represent the respect that is felt for the wearer of your mask. Decide when your mask would be worn and what the costume worn with it will look like.
Artist Choice #2
The Bamana people use the legend of the Chi Wara to show the importance of hard work and harmony in farming life.
Choose something that you do in your daily life. What animal has characteristics that would be good for teaching you how to do that activity? How do you honor that animal today? You can invent an animal legend that explains how you learned to do that activity. Use these ideas to make a sketch for your own headdress showing the importance of you chosen activity from your own life.
Artist Choice #3
The Yoruba celebrate the Gelede festival each year in order to honor women and to ensure well-being in their community. If you could create a festival that would do the same in your community, what would it be? Here are some ideas to consider:
Who or what will the festival honor?
How will you celebrate?
Then, make a sketch of a headdress that would be worn in that celebration.
Artist Choice #4
The elders of the Sande association wear the Sowei
headdress to celebrate and communicate feminine ideals.
An Ideal Friend: Make your own headdress to communicate your friendship ideals. Choose and list the qualities that you would like to have in a friend. Now select physical features that can represent different qualities that you value in a friend. For example, the Mende used a small mouth to show that one should not gossip. How might you show the qualities that you think are important in a good friend through animals?
Use your list of qualities and features to create sketch of a headdress which communicates your ideals for friendship.
My Artist Choice
I chose this because:
List the who, what or the qualities your headdress should communicate:
Write an Artist Statement for your Headdress. It should be a well developed paragraph which includes the following information:
A description of your Artist Choice using your Brainstorm Sheet – not the number! You can also make reference to the history of the African Headdress that we looked at and discussed which inspired your headdress.
The qualities, activity or person your headdress is honoring, and why you chose it.
A description of the "ceremony" where the headdress is used. This is where your imagination REALLY kicks in.