Animals in African Art

/ Coloring with Kids

The continent of Africa is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife on earth. The relationship between humans and the natural world is foundational to many systems of African spiritual thought and practice, so animals, both natural and supernatural, are represented in art across the continent.

Before printing these coloring sheets, we encourage you to check out the mini digital exhibition Natural, Supernatural: Animals in African Art to learn more about each art object. We’ve included engagement questions for each printable coloring sheet. Have fun!


Ibis, Egypt, Late Period, 26th dynasty (664-332 BC), wood, bronze, paint, Museum purchase, 1961.83

Download Ibis Coloring Sheet

An ibis wades in bodies of water, like the Nile River. Do you want to color a river around this bird’s feet?

Antelope Headdress

Antelope Headdress (chi wara), Bamana people, Mali, wood, metal, string, Museum purchase with funds provided by Harold and Regina Simon and Jay Jacobs, by exchange, 1987.26

Download Antelope Headdress Coloring Sheet

Even though this work of art is made of wood, you can color this to look like an animal. What color do you think an antelope’s fur is?



Snake, Gan or Lobi people, 19th or early 20th century, Burkina Faso, iron, Gift of Mortimer B.and Sue Fuller, 2006.58

Download Snake Coloring Sheet

Snakes come in many colors. What color do you want this snake to be? Do you want this snake to have multiple colors? Why?


Buffalo Mask

Buffalo mask, 20th century, Bwa or Nuna people, Burkina Faso, wood, pigment, leather, Gift of Stewart J. Warkow, 1990.252

Download Buffalo Mask Coloring Sheet

The buffalo is a powerful creature. What colors do you think are powerful? Will those be the colors you use for this mask?

Chief’s Crown

Chief’s Crown (sika kle), About 1950 – 1960, Baule people, Côte d’Ivoire,Village of Kondiehinou, textiles, cardboard, wood, gold leaf, Gift of Ellen and Fred Elsas, 1986.778

Download Chief’s Crown Coloring Sheet

Elephants are large and very wise. In nature, elephants are gray, but here it can be any color you want. What color will you choose and why?

Porcupine Quill Shirt

Porcupine Quill Shirt, Bamenda people, Western Grasslands, Republic of Cameroon, Collection of the Art Fund, Inc., at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by Martha Pezrow, Dick Jemison, and the Art Fund,Inc., AFI.26.2013

Download Porcupine Quill Coloring Sheet

Porcupine quills are very sharp. Why would someone wear a shirt or crown made of porcupine quills? How will you color this to make the quills look sharp?