At-Home Activities Inspired by Art from the Indigenous Pacific Islands and Australia May 2, 2022

The MFAH collections feature works of art created all over the world. These two art activities focus on objects made by artists from the Indigenous Pacific Islands and Australia.

Use the step-by-step activity guides and how-to videos below to make your own art at home. For additional ideas, plan a visit to the Museum to see more art in person!

Art-Making Activity | Exploring the Natural World and Carving Stamps
Activity Guide PDF
Featured Work of Art: Shield, c. 1950

Humans, trees, and wood sculpture are inseparably linked in the origin stories of the Asmat people of southwest New Guinea in Indonesia. The human body is related to the tree: the legs and feet are the roots, the torso is the trunk, the arms and hands are the branches, and the head is the fruit. The Asmat people use imagery of animals as powerful symbols carved into protective shields. In this activity, learn the basics of carving when you make your own stamp.

Art-Making Activity | 
Exploring Aboriginal Australian Paintings on Organic Materials
Activity Guide PDF
Featured Work of Art: Kangaroo Painting, c. 1960

Aboriginal Australians were once nomadic, traveling far to gather food and water in a harsh land. During the rainy season, they would build temporary shelters from eucalyptus bark as protection from the rainstorms, and they often painted the bark walls and ceilings to teach children about important animals, deities, and other subjects. They also painted the rock walls of caves. In the 1950s and 1960s, they began to create these bark paintings for the commercial market. This activity encourages conversations about animals, natural materials, and ancient forms of learning.

► Plan Your Visit
The MFAH is open Wednesday through Sunday. General admission is free for ages 12 & younger and for MFAH members. Advance timed tickets recommended.

Family Programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive generous support from the Junior League of Houston, Inc.

Learning and Interpretation programs receive generous funding from the Jerold B. Katz Foundation; H-E-B; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Institute of Museum and Library Services; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; Sharon G. Dies; Sterling-Turner Foundation; Susan Vaughan Foundation; and additional generous donors.

All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment funds provided by Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; Windgate Foundation; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ballard; Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Tate; the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Virginia and Ira Jackson; the Favrot Fund; CFP Foundation; Neiman Marcus Youth Arts Education; gifts in memory of John Wynne; and gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.