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Re: [teacherartexchange] African Art Lesson - Granary Doors - Personal Identity (Elem-MS)


From: Melissa Enderle (melissa_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Mar 02 2007 - 13:08:22 PST

Having lived in Mali and traveled to the Dogon region twice, I'm
pleased to see an art lesson being done that focuses on this region
of Africa.

Just a couple notes of interest:
The Dogon are ancestor worshipers (by tradition). Many of the granary
doors/windows depict scenes of the original eight ancestors, as well
as significant and symbolic animals such as rabbits, crocodiles, and
The granaries I saw stored grain as well as personal possessions. You
can see a few doors/windows at my website
melissaenderle/mali/pages/visualarts.html and read more about the

A topic for debate: Many of the granary doors are disappearing, being
sold off and bought by Western collectors. Some of these doors are
very old and culturally significant. With the high prices that
collectors are willing to pay (sometimes they go right up to locals
and ask to purchase the carved doors), it's no wonder why the Dogon
are willing to sell part of their culture. As one Dogon man (who had
two rooms full of items that could have been in a museum, just ready
for sale) said, "my family needs to eat now".


On Mar 1, 2007, at 7:32 PM, Judy Decker wrote:

> Dear Art Educators,
> Annamae Heimen submitted her lesson for African Granary Doors -
> Personal and Cultural Identity:
> This lesson was done with 6th grade - but is also suitable for
> upper elementary.
> Might be interesting to try it with clay relief (using carving and
> additive techniques) - Then give finished work a wood look patina
> (using brown and black acrylic paint). Make door and door frame from
> clay slab - wire door on after firing and painting.
> I have her lesson linked to elementary and middle school lesson page.

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