They worked with local artists, Pascal AVOKPO and Alexi CODJIA COSSI, to create the mask form using cardboard. A face shape is cut and then the bottom is folded to give the chin a curve. Rubber bands are stapled to the mask and the eyes are cut out. Time for paint!
The students moved into the next classroom, where they gave their masks a base coat. Once it was dry, they finished up their masks using a variety of shapes and colors – representing both people and animals.
The children from the orphanage actually spent a good part of Saturday at CIAMO. They arrived in the morning and participated in the mask-making workshops with CM2 students until about 1:00. After taking a short rest, they visited the Office of Tourism to see a new mural that depicts the history of Ouidah. Later in the afternoon we invited several percussionists to come and sing Kaleta songs with the Children. They took turns coming to the stage to dance and lead the songs.
There’s no question the children loved these activities. One afternoon after the workshops, I was passing by the stage at Fort Français, and what did I see – 3 of my girl students dancing on the stage while wearing their masks. There wasn’t anything in particular going on at that time, they were loving their masks and showing them off to Ouidah.
John Mark Feilmeyer
PCRV, Artistic Director and Music Teacher