User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Unmasking African Art

This gallery and lesson plan help introduce students to the unique style of African art. Though the art may seem "primative", every detail and characteristic of African masks are chosen to illustrate a specific trait or legend valued by that particular society. African masks, like the masks we may use, are used to celebrate special occasions, such as growing up, getting married, and death. These masks are also used to tell stories and become characters, much like how we use masks on Halloween.

As you look through this gallery, here are some questions to think about:
What do you see? What shapes? What colors? What facial features?
What is similar about all the masks?
What is different?
What looks similar to your face? What looks different?
How might this mask have been used?
What is emphasized and larger on this mask?
What is de-emphasized and smaller on this mask?