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Lesson Plans

Re: Making African Masks

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 12 Oct 1997 06:12:52 +0300

I agree with Judith. It seems to me that what is missing from this
entire discussion is the issue of "context."

Masks that are false faces or African or Native American or orther
cultural artifacts like kachina dolls or totem pools have a meaning
according to a particular context. We are not creating initiation rites
in the art room by making these masks or poles or dolls in and of

We are engaging in a process with a content to explore ideas,
materials, methods, symbols, meanings, experiences and the
like. We ourselves are "teaching" in an artificial environment,
a fascimile of outer experience, perhaps even a bastardization of
it. Everything we do is "appropriation" from something else. Be
careful, be sensitive, be informed, be aware, but why censor
experiencies because of some abstract ideal of authenticity?

Teresa Tipton
"Debbie, maybe we aren't able to make "Real" African masks, but couldn't
kids have the pleasure of creating their own mask. It doesn't have to
be called an African mask, but rather, a mask that speaks to them about
something important in their life. Why should they miss the opportunity
and the fun and the learning experience of making an African style mask
just because they are not African. We need to take the art of other
cultures and learn from, even adapt them so they mean something to us.
At least this is the way I feel. You are of course welcome to
disagree. judith"

> kenneth,
> i'm concerned about the part where you say they're ONLY third
> graders. i don't think anyone is going off the deep end, either.
> there does, however, seem to be a general awareness movement in art
> ed. not to minimalize cultures to their crafts/arts/artifacts. i
> stress again and again to my students that we, in southern indiana,
> can look at slides of african masks, talk about african masks, see
> the exhibit at the museum, but we cannot make african masks. it's not
> a big deal, just respect for
> art happens, debbi
> ----------
> From: Kenneth L. Poos[SMTP:klpoos]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 1997 10:33 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Totem Poles
> Some of you guys went off into the real DEEP end. We are trying to
> give
> these kids an insight into a culture. These are only 3rd graders here.
> We don't have the resources and money to get REAL cedar so the kids
> can
> actually carve a totem pole. It would be great if we could. In the
> process of making this totem pole(with what we have), kids learn alot
> about this culture that they never knew before. Yes, the materials
> have
> no relation to the origional materials but who can get the origional
> materials on our budget(please!) I think the kids get an understanding
> of what a kachina is by making one( from what you can get) and
> learning
> about the history and culture. They know that it is made of wood, but
> we
> just want to try and duplicate it as best we can, with what we have.
> They are learning in this process. Thats what we want.
> The children may NOT have the origional materials to work with but in
> the process of actually making a totem pole, kachina,etc. they are
> really learning alot about the culture and the history.
> Sandra Poos
> Cahokia Dist#187
> Cahokia, Ill.
> Grades 1-6