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Classroom Resources

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Objects in your classroom

Our Education Teaching Collection can be part of your classroom. Our one-of-a-kind lending library of objects provides unique hands-on experiences. Email Deborah Stokes at stokesd@si.edu or call her at 202.633.4632.

Outreach into your classroom

Museum representatives travel to classrooms to introduce students to a variety of African arts or to focus on a single African country. Students are given hands-on opportunities. The program site must be within 20 miles of the museum.

Curricula for the classroom

Curricula on African art were developed for use in the classroom and include activities for elementary through high school students.

Mali Empire and Djenne figures
Portraits of Mali from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Baga drum, a figurative drum from Côte d’Ivoire
Ntan drum, an Asante drum from Ghana
Gavin Jantjes, a South African artist

Video loans

Yoruba Potter

Yoruba Potter
Photo by Ron du Bois, 1987

Videos in VHS and DVD are available for three-week loans throughout the year. Please allow two weeks for delivery and limit your request to two videos. Borrowers are responsible for return postage. To borrow a video, complete the online request form or contact Frank Esposito at 202.633.4633 or EspositoF@si.edu

Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group

35 min., color, 1998
High School, Adult
Open-captioned version available
Seven Nigerian artists discuss their work and document the cultural traditions that inspire them.

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The Art of West African Strip-Woven Cloth

12 min., color, 1987
Upper Elementary-High School, Adult
Open-captioned version available
Artisans–spinners, dyers, weavers and sewers–make strip-woven cloth with striking geometric patterns.

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Ceramic Gestures: A Conversation with Magdalene Odundo

9 min., color, 1995
High School, Adult
Artworks of Kenyan ceramist Magdalene Odundo highlighted.

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The Hands of the Potter

26 min., color, 1991
Elementary-High School, Adult
Sundi potter Hélène Tangui transforms moist clay into perfect vessels. Filmed in the Republic of the Congo by archaeologist Raymond Lanfranchi.

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Masters of Brass: Lost-Wax Casting in Ghana

22 min., color, 1985
Junior High-High School, Adult
Open-captioned version available
Two Ghanaian casters create figurative sculpture and jewelry using the ancient technique of lost-wax casting.

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Nagayati: Arts and Architecture among the Gabra Nomads of Kenya

50 min., color, 1991
High School, Adult
Nagayati documents a Gabra marriage ceremony in northern Kenya during which women create a new house and its furnishings.

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Togu Na and Cheko: Change and Continuity in the Art of Mali

25 min., color, 1989
Upper Elementary-High School, Adult
Open-captioned version available
Features two distinct artistic traditions in present-day Mali–the architecture of the Dogon peoples and the puppet theater of the Bamana peoples.

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Yoruba Potters: Mothers and Daughters - Dada Compound

Potters of the World Film series
By Ron du Bois
Color DVD, 38 minutes
Finely edited documentary of Yoruba craftswomen and their remarkable clay hand-building skills, ‘open field’ firing of more than 1000 pots, including large symmetrical water vessels, koko amu. Filmed in situ over four months in collaboration with Professor Olaoye, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.

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Alagba Masquerade

The amazing start to the ancient seventeen year cycle.
By Jane Thorburn. Narrated by Sokari Douglas Camp
Color DVD, 46 minutes
young male initiates of the Sekiapu society perform in the Alagba Masquerade, detailed through the eyes of the participants.

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Kente Cloth Weaving

Master Ewe weaver from Ghana: Gilbert Bobbo Ahiagbie
By Louise Meyer
Color DVD, 18 minutes
A fine introduction to the craft of weaving in Ghana.

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Yoruba Potters: Mothers and Daughters – Ogbena Compound

Potters of the World Film series
By Ron du Bois
Color DVD, 35 minutes
Documentary of Yoruba craftswomen of the Ogbena compound in the town of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. Follows the hand-building process of producing an isasun, a round-bottom vessel with a knobbed lid – ideal for cooking over an open fire.
Filmed in situ over four months in collaboration with Professor Olaoye, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.

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Video Request Form

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I would like to borrow the following video(s) for my classroom:

 Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group The Art of West African Strip-Woven Cloth Ceramic Gestures: A Conversation with Magdalene Odundo The Hands of the Potter Masters of Brass: Lost-Wax Casting in Ghana Nagayati: Arts and Architecture among the Gabra Nomads of Kenya Togu Na and Cheko: Change and Continuity in the Art of Mali Yoruba Potters: Mothers and Daughters - Dada Compound Alagba Masquerade Kente Cloth Weaving

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