Thank you to A. Explorers and H. Bears’ family for loaning us several African artifacts to share with our students during our Kenya study. These items are from Nigeria, which is close to Kenya. During the Explorers music class, docent A. Explorer gave a beautiful presentation of all the artifacts, explaining who made it, what it represented, and what the items were used for. With her help, I shared the artifacts with other classes.
The beautiful necklaces were made from paper and other recycled materials. The blue one is a traditional wedding necklace. Students felt the weight and material, commenting on how pretty they were. When trying them on, the intricate beads caught on their hair and skin. Many students said, “The necklace hurt me.” They preferred to hold them in their hands instead.
The steel doctor purse carries wisdom and medicinal powers. It has beading with shells on the bottom and it is similar to purses students carry. A. Explorers shared, “Don’t try to put it on your shoulder and it will hurt. I hurt for a few days after.” The students loved opening it and seeing the inside. It is a heavy purse!
The heavy golden bracelets were used as money to barter. A. Explorers warned, “Don’t try to put it on, as it won’t fit on your wrist.” And what did students do? They all tried it on! It actually fit on many young students wrists and they felt the weight of it.
The two cloths are made from vegetable dyes and A. Explorers showed us where we could find the artists’ name on the cloth. Students enjoyed looking at all patterns and colors. In addition, she shared the busts of an African man and woman. They were heavy and students liked seeing their facial structure and hair. Several of them commented that the bun on top of my head made me look like the woman. Great comparison!
After seeing, touching, and learning about the African artifacts, students developed an appreciation and better understanding of the African culture. Thus, I gave students scarves to dance with, instructing them to get creative and be inspired by the artifacts. Students danced with the scarves and used them as headdresses, skirts, dresses, necklaces, ties, and capes. Some of them spent more time creating their outfit than dancing! The Bears and Explorers class enjoyed holding hands and dancing in a circle. The Explorers class made a conga line and a kick line! It was a African inspired scarf dance party!
Thank you to A. Explorers and R. Bears’ family for the items on loan!