Elephants, Snakes, and Birds.
Exploring Animal Symbols in African Cultures
Facilitated by Christina Davis and Helen Zellner
Saturday, November 27, 2021 | 11:00 am - 12:30pm
Workshop will be held in the SAAM gardens behind the main building
Participant Availability up to 10 Participants between the ages of 6 – up
Just bring your creativity! All materials, tables & chairs will be supplied.
In this workshop, you will see animal and insect images used in our West & Central African art collection. They are used in African art & culture as symbols of leadership, spirituality; they are used in masquerades, used in storytelling to pass on history and moral values of the ancestors, etc. The animals may have been chosen because of their depiction of beauty, strength, ferociousness, cleverness, exhibited special skills, their unique sounds or movement, etc... Animal images are found in visual art, performances, stories, proverbs, etc. While some animals represent common symbols, they may differ across the continent.
In this workshop, we will be learning about the symbolism of different animals throughout West and Central Africa and then creating either a piece of clay art or drawing representing either an animal that you learned about or that you are inspired by.
This workshop is for ages 6+ and will be located on the second floor of our annex building, The Upbeat Village Terracotta Gallery. Please keep in mind that there is stair access only and
does not have wheelchair access.
This workshop will be limited occupancy so to secure your seat you must register through the Eventbrite link below.
Seats are limited and we ask that if you do register that you please arrive on time for the workshop so that the space can be utilized.
Masks and Social Distancing will be Required
Click here to register
for this Workshop
Meet our Facilitators!
SAAM Docent | Local Artist
Facilitator and local artist, Christina Davis
SAAM Intern | Fine Artist
Facilitator and local artist, Helen Zellner
Christina Davis is a Savannah-based artist who works mainly in clay. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. While in college she spent most of her time at the ceramics studio learning wheel throwing and sculpting techniques.
Christina creates both functional wares and sculptures with a variety of clays including stoneware and porcelain. Her work draws inspiration from nature in both form and decorative elements. She enjoys the challenge of creating functional ware based on found natural objects such as acorns or flowers and reproducing the intricate details of figures in the sculpture.
Beyond the obvious personal connection to ceramics, Christina particularly enjoys SAAM’s terracotta collection because patterns, whether carved into clay or onto bodies, are not merely decorations for the peoples
of Africa. Scarification is a sign of status, a visual representation of the wearer’s identity in society. Similarly, the patterns seen on terracotta can also convey the message of belonging to a particular group.
Currently, Christina is working on sculpting the human figure and establishing a pottery studio. She looks forward to continuing her observational craft and sharing the techniques she learns with others.
Helen Zellner is a fine artist who specializes in black-and-white ink illustration. While overall experienced in painting and sequential art, Zellner uses illustration to tell a story about the complex feelings ordinary emotions fail to express.
Focusing mainly on women,
she illustrates common feelings that often go unnoticed. Her traditional illustrations are often void of color, giving the viewer nothing but the story before them to interpret. Keeping her works simple, the subjects usually look directly at the audience to capture their attention.
As an artist, Zellner feels it is important to embrace the arts, believing it will always tell a story about something in the world.