Make a Community Mask

Make a Community Mask

Be inspired and create a mask that reminds you of your community!

Grade Level:
Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades K-2, Preschool
Collection:
African Art
Culture/Region:
Africa
Subject Area:
Fine Arts, Visual Arts
Activity Type:
Hands-On Activity

Make a Community Mask

This activity was inspired by the Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa exhibition, on view Nov 10, 2018 – Feb 24, 2019, and is featured at Pop-up events around our community. Check out the event schedule to learn more!

About Masks

People all over the world use masks. A mask can cover the face or can even be part of a costume for the whole body! No matter the shape, masks temporarily change the identity of the wearer.  In African cultures, masks can be used in a variety of ways, as part of storytelling, ceremonies, celebrations, and rituals. Masks and the performance of masks also connect people with the history of their community, traditions and their collective identity.

Kuba masks are made with many different materials and link people with their history and royal lineage. This mask embodies Mweel, the first queen of the Kuba kingdom.

The calm face and symmetrical decorations represent Mweel as an “ideal woman,” who is graceful and beautifully adorned.

Make Your Own Community Mask!

Materials:

  • 1 piece of paper (around the size of 8.5×11)
  • Scissors
  • Markers and/or crayons
  • Popsicle stick
  • Glue or tape
  • (Optional) Adornments such as feathers, beads, raffia, string, etc.
  • (Optional) Hole punch to attach your raffia or string

Instructions:

  1. Find a piece of paper to use; this can be any paper you have available including construction paper, recycled paper, cardstock, etc. A thicker paper, such as cardstock, is preferred so that the mask holds its shape.
  2. Fold the paper in half, so that the two short edges meet (hamburger style), and cut around all sides except for the folded edge. This will make a symmetrical mask, or face.
  3. After cutting your desired shape, open up your piece of paper. You have now created your mask base!
  4. Use markers or crayons to draw facial features such as eyes, a mouth, and a nose onto your mask. Tip: Your eyes are about half way between the top of your head and your chin.
  5. Add details to your mask to represent you and your community! Consider the questions noted on this resource to help get you started.
  6. (Optional) After drawing on your mask using markers, add other materials to adorn your community mask! Hole-punch your paper mask and attach raffia and beads, or use glue to adhere feathers.
  7. Attach a popsicle stick to the back of your mask, toward the bottom, using glue or tape.

 

What Details should you add? Add anything that reminds you of your community. You can draw symbols that embody the city in which you live, or maybe you could draw your school mascot. Add fun shapes and patterns, or use colors that exemplify a community, like school colors or a local sports team’s colors.

 

Questions to Consider when making your mask:

  1. What shapes, designs, symbols, colors, patterns, or landmarks do you see around your community?
  2. What decorations would you use to represent the best aspects of a member of your community?
  3. What does identity mean to you?
  4. What does community mean to you?