Summit Lakes Middle School art students recently learned about the importance of mask making thanks to a special guest presenter. Dr. Emmanuel Ngomsi of All World Languages and Cultures spent the day with the art students. A native of Cameroon and current Lee’s Summit resident, Dr. Ngomsi shared the art of mask making and the importance of various other art objects in the West African cultures.
Dr. Ngomsi discussed the colonization of Africa and the significance of keeping the tradition of mask making alive after France restructured his native country. He brought 15 authentic masks as well as tools, games, clothing and various other artifacts for students to see and hold.
After Dr. Ngomsi visits with the students, they begin making their own expressive masks from clay. The process takes approximately two weeks to complete with the masks being fired in a kiln and students adding decorations.
“This is always the student's favorite project of the year and it is something they keep for many, many years!” said art teacher Jewelee Lukowski.
Dr. Ngomsi’s visit is funded through a Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation PEAK (Promoting Education and Knowledge) Grant.