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Arm Cast- Body Art

Unit: African Art - Sculpture - African American Art! Lesson Plan: Arm and Face Casts - body art! Artist Of Focus: Ben Jones "


Summary: Students will cast their face and/or arm for a temporary sculpture installation. They will paint it with patterns and symbols that reflect their cultural heritage. They will get input from family members for symbols to reflect ancestors. Essential Question: How is heritage reflected African Art?


Objectives: Students will • Show awareness of characteristics of African art • Cooperate with classmates to cast arm and face - demonstrate craftsmanship in plaster addition • Design arm and face to show cultural heritage - reflect on personal identity • Demonstrate understanding of elements and principles of design • Demonstrate craftsmanship in painting


Materials: Plaster Gauze! Vaseline Petroleum Jelly! Plastic dishes (cool whip size)! Old t-shirts - plastic trash bags! Plastic Face Molds! (optional)! Black and white latex paint (house paint is cheaper than acrylic)! Acrylic Paint! Paint Markers! , Puffy Paint! (small squeeze bottles) - Permanent Markers! Tacky Glue! (or hot Glue Gun! )! 1" (2.5 cm) Foamboard! Scroll Saw! (optional) Vocabulary: plaster addition - pattern/repetition - concentric shapes - exaggeration distortion - geometric - culture - ritual - symbolism - identity - adornment Resources: • See additional info. and student sample work of this lesson here. • Variety of African mask images! - images of body art and adornment! from Africa (some good articles have been in National Geographic! ) • Images of arm face casts by Ben Jones! • Images of other African American artists showing inspiration from art of Africa (find some books on Contemporary African American art. I have seen some with Ben Jones work shown). • Images of Ndebele painting (this is optional for painting background Dow foam board) • Some tips and photos for mask making


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" " "Revealing the Hopes of Adolescents through the Art of Tattoos" by Michael Gerrish

This is a face cast on foam board. Sculpture is painted with Acrylic Paint! and sealed with polymer medium. Instruction/Motivation: 1. Present some introductory activities on African Masks (see the Ceramic Mask lesson plan) - show examples of body adornment (in various African cultures - and other cultures). Discuss the concept of culture and how art reflects culture 2. Show some examples of African American art - discuss inspiration from art of Africa (especially Ben Jones). 3. Review/demonstrate casting process!


Procedures: 1. Students look at and discuss significance/purpose of African masks understand meaning - discuss similarities/characteristics (at least one day introduction to African art). Look at body adornment in various cultures. 2. Student look at African American Art and see connections to African art look for similarities. Also look at influence of African art on Modern Art. 3. Students research design/art in their own culture - symbols - textiles imagery. Learn about the beliefs and values of their ancestors. Learn about the flora and fauna of the homeland - the landscape. Make a mini journal of their findings - including sketches. Make a tracing of oval shape for face and an outline for arm to do some planning - this can be on going through the lesson and can change. 4. Decide if you will have students do face cast - arm cast - or both. Students will work in pairs to cast face and arm. Wear old T-shirt to do arm. Stretch arm out on table - keep it flat. Only cast the top side of the arm - all the way up to shoulder. Do not wrap around to underside of arm. Use petroleum jelly on arm. Apply at least two layers of plaster gauze. See resources above for face cast. 5. For individual works - glue and mount onto strips of Dow board. Mount face and arm vertically. Seal arm and face around edges with strips of plaster gauze. For a group work, it might be easier to paint the face and arms first, they carefully mount to the 4' x 8' (1.22 x 2.44 meters) boards and touch up. Work on drawings while plaster is drying.



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When plaster is completely dry -paint with base coat. Keep it simple. Chose black or white for base coat. Work on designs while paint is drying. Plan designs for background board, too. These can be inspired by wall paintings of Ndebele and other wall paintings in South Africa. 7. Transfer designs to face and arm casts. Black permanent markers can be used on white surface. White paint markers on black (or use gold and/or silver Metallic Markers! ) 8. Paint patterns - designs and symbols with acrylic paint. Permanent markers work well on white surface for details. Paint markers can be used on black surface for details. Embellish with squeeze paints (middle school students love using these) - just use for pattern and line. 9. If you are doing the cut out for the face on the Dow board - students can collage materials on the inside of the face - "What's inside my head?" "What issues are important to me?" 10. Decide if entire mounting board needs to be covered with gauze. Paper mache would be much cheaper. Paint mounting board. You could leave these solid white or black for contrast - OR paint with bolder patterns/ geometric designs (See Ndebele painting). If mounting on one or more 4' x 8' Dow boards, come up with a way to hinge these together so they are displayed free standing so people can walk around them and see the back side. On the back side, there could be an outline of the arm below the cutout of the face and that could be collaged as well. The cut out of the arm could be a tracing done on poster board and glued to the display board. Arm could be collaged first - then cut out. 11. Student write a reflection on their work. What do the motifs mean? How do they express culture? What have they learned about their ancestors?


! Black Face and Arm Unit by Ben Jones, 1971. Not only does he have an interesting composition, he also had added creative patterns and colorful designs to his sculptures.