Lesson 12: Empowering Leaders: Leadership Arts of the Cameroon Grassfields, Africa

Summary and Objectives

A study of the leadership arts of the Cameroon Grassfields provides opportunities to consider how integral the arts are to notions of power and leadership. Students study the works and then consider their functions from background information they have been given. An additional activity centers on a short film, “Pageantry in the Palace,” and students discuss and develop in writing their reactions to the film. Students will

  • Explore the integral connection between art and power in the Cameroon Grassfields through research and creative word games.
  • Gain insight into the culture of the Cameroon Grassfields by viewing and analyzing a short film on royal pageantry.
  • React and respond to notions of pageantry among peoples of the Cameroon Grassfields and compare these to practices in their own lives.



This lesson is part of the curricular materials developed to accompany the exhibition Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives. Although this and companion lessons are self-contained, each will be enhanced when used in conjunction with others in this resource. Addressing several lessons within each unit will facilitate the incorporation of the study of world arts and cultures into your curriculum.

The lesson is based on works in the third section of the exhibition called Art and Power. In this gallery works are introduced that serve to define and assert power. See “Unit Three—Art and Power” for an introductory statement on the unit, along with some provocative “Questions for Thought,” and suggestions that will inspire the students to relate the unit to their own lives.

Images of objects to be shown to students may be printed as handouts (from within each lesson), viewed online at the Intersections web link http://collections.fowler.ucla.edu, or downloaded from the curriculum page on our website.

In this unit the topics and lessons are
Lesson 12: Empowering Leaders: Leadership Art of the Cameroon Grassfields, Africa
Lesson 13: Negotiating Gender: Portrayal of a Hunter: Ere Egungun Olode, Nigeria
Lesson 14: Negotiating Gender: Powerful Mother: Ere Gelede, Nigeria
Lesson 15: Status and Prestige: To Make the Chief’s Words Sweet: A Counselor’s Staff, Ghana
Lesson 16: Status and Prestige: A Wall of Status and Prestige, Africa, Asia, and the Americas
Lesson 17: Harnessing Spirits: Pacific Northwest Arts, United States and Canada
Lesson 18: Harnessing Spirits: The Hornbill: Bird of Prophecy, Malaysia

Related Exhibition