African Rock Art Project for Kids
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Kidipede is a history and science encyclopedia for kids, with more than 2000 pages of expert answers to your questions.


African Rock Art Project

San art

Khoisan rock art was a way for artists in southern Africa to show their dreams and ideas about how the world worked, or should work. And it was a way to remember things that had happened. The artists drew these pictures for their ancestors, or for their gods.

First you can look at some of their paintings. What do they mean? Why would someone make a painting like that? Why are those things important to them?

And, how did the Khoisan artists make their picture show these things? What did they make big? What did they make little? What is in front, and what is behind? What colors did they use? What kinds of lines? Thick? Thin? Straight or wavy?

Now try making paintings like that yourself. You can paint on a big rock, like they did, if you have one. Or you can just paint on paper. Maybe you'll want to put your paintings up on a wall when they are done, so they can show other people what you wanted to say.

But before you begin, think about what you want to show. Is it a memory? A dream or a goal you have? The way you want your world to be? Are you drawing it for your grandmother? For your god? What is the purpose of your painting?

And also think, how can you use the methods of the Khoisan artists to make your painting show that? What should be big? What should be little? What should be in front? No fair using writing! You have to convey the information in your picture.

When you're done, see if your friends, family, or classmates can tell what your message was.

Check out these books about San rock painting on Amazon or in your local library.

Or read this Khoisan article in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

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