The goals of this lesson were to tool (push or pull) the metal from both the front and the back, to create a mask that showed symmetry, and to use a variety of textures and patterns within the design. Students were shown a variety of masks that were representative of twelve different tribes in Africa. A brief PowerPoint presentation demonstrated the different ceremonial uses of the masks. We contrasted the way masks are used in American culture (holidays, theater, safety) to African culture (communal ceremonies for various rites of passage, ancestral communication, blessings, hunting expeditions, celebrations, and funerals.) The students were asked to use the visual references as a jumping off point but to instill the mask with their own creativity.
Students added color highlights to the mask with Sharpies and then emphasized the relief and depth of the masks by using a burnishing technique using black Acrylic paint. Students used raffia and wooden beads as a textural complement their metal work.