Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prehistoric Rock Paintings: Exploring Algeria Through Art


Our third stop in Project: Around the World was to the country of Algeria. Algeria is located on the northern coast of Africa. (See it on the map here.) The majority of the population lives along the coast line because about 80% of its land is covered by desert, specifically the Sahara Desert. Inspiration came easy for this project once we discovered the prehistoric rock paintings in Tassili n'Ajjer. The Tassili n'Ajjer rock paintings are some of the oldest artwork in the world and is considered one of the most important groupings of prehistoric art in the world. (You can read an extensive description, plus view many pictures of Tassili n'Ajjer, at this link from the World Heritage Convention.)

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Supplies Needed:
Old sheet or drop cloth

To prep this project, I cut a length of the brown paper off the roll. I crumpled it up and smoothed it out before taping to the wall to mimic the texture of the rocks. I always use painter's tape when I stick anything to the wall. It's a bit hard to get off the back of the paper (and will sometimes peel a bit of the paper), but it will protect your wall. Spread out your drop cloth on the ground underneath your paper.

Note: I normally don't specify the type of paint you should use, but for this project I would HIGHLY recommend the washable paint. You know, for that washable factor!


After viewing some online pictures of Algeria and reading the book, The Sahara Desert: The Largest Desert in the World by Megan Lappi, I showed the girls their invitation to create. We talked a bit about the Tassili n'Ajjer rock paintings before beginning. What colors do you see in the rock paintings? We knew the paint came from natural materials so we pulled out the brown and orange paints as best color matches. What materials did they use for painting? We decided that using their fingers was one possibility, so that's what we used to do our paintings. We also talked about how these paintings sometimes told stories, so the girls decided to try and tell their own stories of the desert.


The girls had a lot of fun creating their rock paintings with their fingers. My 5-year-old especially got into it. She painted a fennec fox, a chameleon, and painted around her hand to represent humans. My 7-year-old painted a camel and mountains. It was so much fun and they proudly told their dad the stories once he came home from work.


We loved making our own versions of the prehistoric rock paintings of Tassili n'Ajjer and my 5-year-old want to do this again sometime. But, now it's time to move on to another country. Andorra is coming up soon!

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