The African Mask The Function of an African Mask

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The African Mask The Function of an African Mask - Description

In the early 20th Century, artists like PABLO PICASSO and ANDRE DERAIN were inspired by the bold abstract designs that they discovered in African tribal masks. They collected and used these works of art to influence their own style. In effect, they used African culture to refresh the tired traditio.... ID: 740942 Download Presentation

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The African Mask The Function of an African Mask




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Presentations text content in The African Mask The Function of an African Mask

Slide1

The African Mask

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The Function of an African Mask

In the early 20th Century, artists like PABLO PICASSO and ANDRE DERAIN were inspired by the bold abstract designs that they discovered in African tribal masks. They collected and used these works of art to influence their own style. In effect, they used African culture to refresh the tired tradition of figure painting in Western Art.As a result, we now tend to admire the bold design and abstract patterns of African masks through European eyes. We appreciate them as exhibits on museum walls, cut off from their original meaning and magical power. However, this is not how they were designed to be viewed.

African masks should be seen as part of a ceremonial costume. They are used in religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. They come to life, possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance, and are enhanced by both the music and atmosphere of the occasion. Some combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment. This bond with nature is of great importance to the African and through the ages masks have always been used to express this relationship.

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You are going to create this African mask… before that, let us consider a few things…

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Using different combinations of coloured paper will affect the mood of the mask.

Colour has a strong effect on our emotional response and it may also be used symbolically.Two tones of green have been used on this mask to the color of the forest.Contrasts of pattern and colour can be used to increase the expressive power of your mask.

Experiment with different combinations to see if you can improve the impact of your mask design.

Design consideration for an African Mask

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You can texture the paper for your mask design with various materials such as paint, acrylic gesso, glue, sand, coloured tissue etc.

Rough, worn and weathered effects give the mask design an authentic antique look.

Whatever materials you use, you must keep a strong tonal contrast between the opposite halves of the mask.

You want your mask design to be bold and simple so that it may seen clearly from a distance.

Subtlety is not a quality you look for in tribal masks.

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Using paper with a metallic or reflective surface can produce interesting effects in the way it scatters and changes the light and tone of the mask design.

It also modernises the style of these images which start to take on a sci-fi quality.Sci-fi imagery is often based on the iconography of ethic or ancient cultures.Essentially you can use any materials that are capable of being cut and pasted to make our mask design. So try to experiment with any suitable media or techniques that comes to hand.

For example, the image opposite illustrates how our mask lesson has been adapted for the technique of marquetry - the cutting and gluing of thin veneers of dark and light woods to create a striking design.

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What you need:

A pair of scissorsGlue stick2 A4 pieces of paper of contrasting colour

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Let's CREATE!

To begin with you need two similar sized sheets of thick paper or card, one light in tone, the other dark.

The contrasting tones will be used to create a balance of positive and negative features in the design.

You will also need a pencil, scissors or craft knife, and some glue

.

Think of the facial expression for your African mask…

eg

angry, sad, happy, fearsome

etc

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Arranging the paper

Fold the light sheet in half down its vertical length and cut along the crease.

This should give you two equal halves.

Take one of the light halves and place it over the dark sheet as in our example above, creating one half dark and one half light.

Arrange these sheets in portrait format.

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Designing the eyes

Draw a stylized eye about halfway down the light sheet of paper. Simplify this drawing into basic shapes that contain little detail.Stylized and simplified features are used to help express abstract qualities like nobility, integrity, courage, fear and humour.

The shape that you choose for your eye and the angle at which you set it will affect the expressive qualities of the design.Cut out the eye shape, flip it over and place it on the dark sheet to form a symmetrical arrangement.You will now begin to see the counterchange of pattern which will be used throughout this mask design.The aim is to create a perfect balance between dark and light, and positive and negative.

Simplified features on a mask communicate quicker and are more visible from a distance. They also have a greater expressive impact than more detailed images.

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Designing the Nose

Draw one half of a stylized nose on the light colored paper.

The nose should stretch from just above the eyes to roughly halfway between the eyes and the bottom of the sheet.

Stylized and simplified features are used to help express abstract qualities like nobility, integrity, courage, fear and humour.

Cut out the nose shape and flip it over.

Place it on the dark sheet and align it with the vertical edge of the light paper.

This will complete its symmetrical shape and maintain the tonal counterchange of the mask design.

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Designing the Mouth

Draw one half of a stylized mouth on the light colored paper.

Although the position of the features in this mask is conventional, you do not have to follow normal facial proportions in mask design.

Variations in the positioning of the eyes, nose and mouth will create different expressive effects in your design.

Cut out the mouth shape and flip it over.

Place it on the dark sheet and align it with the vertical edge of the light paper to complete its shape.

Note that the inside of the mouth has also been cut out and flipped onto the light side of the design to create the illusion of an opening.

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Designing the

shape of the face

Draw a simple shape for the outline of the face on the light paper.

This shape could be oval, circular, rectangular, elongated, heart-shaped, animal-shaped or human, or any combination of these.

Different outline shapes will give you different expressive effects.

Cut around the outline of the face but leave the face shape in place.

Now take the leftover background shape, flip it over to the other side and align it with the vertical centre line.

This will create the background for the negative side of the face. The remaining space will become the background for the positive side of the face.

This example is designed to form the shape of a heart - a symbol often used in mask design.

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Decorating the Face

You can decorate the face of your mask by drawing some tattoo designs or scarification marks on the light side of the face.

These decorative markings are often used on masks to communicate coded information or social status.

They can also represent magical or religious power.

Cut out the tattoo or scarification marks, flip them over and place them on the opposite side of the design to create a decorative symmetrical arrangement.

Symmetrical arrangements of line, shape and form in masks evoke a sense of integrity and dignity.

Slide16

Styling the Hair

On the light background draw a stylized design to represent hair or braids.

A straight, simplified, linear design is used here to contrast with the curves on the rest of the mask.Cut out the stylized hair braid, flip it over and place it onto the dark side of the design.

This completes the symmetry and is the final counterchange of the arrangement.

The layout of the mask is now complete.

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Finishing the Mask

Once you have completed the arrangement of your design, glue the light shapes down onto the dark background.

Take care to ensure that a neat line is formed down the middle of the mask where the two halves of the design meet.

An accurate symmetry across this line is essential to the success of your image.

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In your sketchbook, reflect on...

What do you like about your mask? Why?What are some elements of art and principle of design involved? Elaborate .What are some of the challenges you faced when creating your African Mask and how did you overcome these challenges?

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