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Arts & Activities - Page 22

Maori-Inspired Masks by Cynthia Henn-Percarpio uring a recent summer, I participated in a Hands Across the Water Teacher Exchange Program to New Zealand. This experience gave me the opportunity to see how people in a different country live on a day-to-day basis. For me, one of the more interesting aspects of New Zealand was its indigenous culture, the Māori. BACKGROUND In more populated Māori areas such D a Te Kuiti, parents have the option to have their child’s education taught in English or the Māori language. Cultural traditions are observed and taught in the schools—including students taking their shoes off before entering the school building. Removing one’s shoes in a community meeting place is a sign of respect. The Māori culture’s traditional Tā Moko tattoos are fascinating. Often worn on the face and other selected areas of the body, each Tā Moko design is specific to a particular tribe. To wear the tattoo, one must first ask permission from the tribal leaders. Customarily, high-ranking members of the tribe wore the Tā Moko. Originally, the Moko tattoo designs were created to intimidate enemies and when paired with a contorted facial expression, the male warriors would do their best to frighten the enemy. Men’s Moko designs cover the face and radiate from the center, while women’s most often appear between the chin and the lower lip. I did not see anyone wearing a Moko during my three-week stay in New Zealand (but I did see a man with one in New York City’s Central Park earlier this year). THE STUDIO PROJECT Instead of drew lower case “ t ” in pencil. These served as our guidelines. We created two small dash lines— one as a midpoint between the chin and the horizontal guideline for the nose, and one Portrait of a Maori as the midpoint man with full facial between the nose moko, c. 1769. and the chin, for the mouth. We then drew the one eye on the top guideline with the paper folded about an inch from the center. Drawing the nose was tricky. Keeping the paper folded, we extended the center dash out about threequarters of an inch and then brought the line up to the bridge of the nose, angling the line slightly toward the middle as we came to the top horizontal line. I reminded students not to let the line for the bridge of the nose touch the center fold. Some students assume the nose ends below the eyes, so to help them better understand placement, I had students touch their noses, starting with the tip and moving up along the bridge to the eyebrows. After the nose was drawn, they drew the mouth with the option of it being closed or an open mouth that can be cut out. Keeping the paper folded, we first cut out the mouth. I then demonstrated how to cut out the nose, being very careful not to cut on the fold on the bridge. This was our procedure: see MAORI on page 42 NATIONAL ART STANDARDS • • Understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture. Understand and apply media, techniques and processes. LEARNING OBJECTIVES Elementary students will . • • • • • • develop an understanding and appreciation for Maori tribal designs (Moko). gain skills in line design. obtain a better understanding of balance in the composition of a mask. learn new techniques in the creation of a mask. painting our faces with designs, we opted to create them on a mask form we made. First, we folded an 8.5" x 11" piece of oak tag in half vertically. We then drew half of an oval on one side and cut it out. After opening the paper, we very lightly 22 MATERIALS 8.5" x 11" oak-tag paper scissors and hole-punchers • • Pencils, black permanent markers, colored markers including silver Raffia and white glue go to artsandactivities.com and click on this button for links to resources related to this article. j am nu oa nr th y 2012 3 • 80 YEARS x www.ar tsandactivities.com

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