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Black Africa – Tribal Art


Art, Social Studies  



Title – Black Africa – Tribal Art
By – Stephanie Slatner
Primary Subject – Art
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies
Grade Level – 3
African Art, Tribal Tattoos

African Tribal Art can be used to tell a story.


The lesson is a discussion of a tribal tattoo that leads to a discussion of symbolic meanings in art.


The student will create a work of art that uses themes, ideas, and art forms from the past.


  • Repetition – The continuous use of a line or symbol. The repeating of an image.
  • Ritualistic – An image or ceremony used to celebrate a religion or belief.


  • Affective – Students will explore a work of art for its visual symbols.
  • Cognitive – Student can explore deeper meanings into ceremonies and beliefs of the culture.
  • Psychomotor – The student will create a drawing that includes pattern and symbolism.


Show them pictures of African Tribal tattoos, and let them make up a story to go with that. Let them share their ideas of why they should be honored. Let them make a list on the board of what kinds of things they might have done that they should show to the world, and be honored for.

If you were going to draw a picture of your favorite story what would it have as symbols? How would it tell you what happened in the story? Where do you think they put these symbols?

The students will analyze a tribal tattoo from a Black African Culture aloud with the class and based on their own lives, children will create a pattern drawing including symbolism of their own.


Not only can you get meanings from pictures from ancient times, there are stories all around us in pictures. Looking back through your photo albums at home, you can relate each picture to a story. Let us look further into the meaning of this tribal art and

What symbolism is:

  1. Deciding why each piece was placed where it was.
  2. Determining an action that the subject in the picture was portraying.
  3. Think about the overall intent of the artist.

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