Masks and bronze sculptures are centrally identified with African culture. They are largely used to represent animals, as some African tribes believe that the wearing of the mask can help them communicate with the animals and spirits of the forest. In West Africa, they are used in masquerades, a cultural event such as a ceremony where the masks are worn to embody the entity that the mask represents.
This is a hugely popular part of our programme providing pupils the tools to be creative in the shaping of the mask and to display them as part of an exhibition. First, we show the pupils representations of African masks and sculpture and the stories behind them. With the use of clay, mache, or plaster, the pupils create the masks and then paint them afterwards.
They are then displayed for a school exhibition at the end of the project, in which parents are invited. Our sessions are fun, supportive and friendly, and from our experience will live long in the memory of all participants.