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World art resources

In April, UNESCO World Art Day celebrates and promotes the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art, reinforces the links between art and society and encourages greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expression.

We have gathered together a selection of learning resources from museums, galleries and art collections around the UK that focus on artworks and objects from non-Western cultures and societies and the people who made them.


Wantapiri 1992

Malcolm Jagamarra (b.1955)

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Use them in April and throughout the year to explore and plan lessons for a range of subjects including history, mathematics, design and technology and religious education – as well as art and design.

Artworks from around the world

(All ages)

This resource from the Horniman Museum provides a useful toolkit for teachers planning lessons about different cultures around the world and inspiring creative projects.

It includes images and information about key artworks and objects in the Horniman collection.

Explore the learning resource

Catur Nari Palakkiya (or 'Four Women Palanquin')

Catur Nari Palakkiya (or 'Four Women Palanquin') 19th C

unknown artist

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Islamic culture, design and pattern

Find inspiration with Bradford Museums
(Primary students: art & design)

Using artworks from Bradford Museums' collections as inspiration, get creative with activities inspired by Islamic pattern. The resources are suitable for use in the classroom or for home learners and families.

Create geometric patterns

Create a special object inspired by hammering techniques


Resources from the V&A
(Families, primary, secondary and 16+ students: art & design, design & technology, history, geography, RE)

Explore Islamic pattern, design and calligraphy and learn about the culture of the Islamic Middle East with these resources from the V&A.

Design and make your own Islamic tile and printed pattern
(Families resource)

The following school resources are designed for class visits – but the information and activities can be adapted for classroom learning.

Visit V&A resources for primary students

Visit V&A resources for secondary students


The Wallace Collection and Islamic pattern
(Secondary students: art & design)

This resource from The Wallace Collection includes an introduction to Islamic art, detailed information about the objects, suggestions for cross-curricular study, and activity ideas for creating decorative motifs and repeated designs. There is an option to download an editable PowerPoint presentation version of the resource.

Explore Islamic pattern with the Wallace Collection


Islamic pattern sketchbook ideas from the Ashmolean Museum
(Secondary students: art & design)

Explore Asian and Islamic artworks in the Ashmolean Museum online and discover sketchbook ideas for exploring Islamic pattern.

Explore Asian and Islamic art online at the Yousef Jameel Centre

Download sketchbook ideas


Art UK Resource: Halima Cassell and geometric pattern
(Secondary students: art & design, maths)

Find out how sculptor Halima Cassell  uses her love of maths and architectural geometry and her fascination with Islamic design and African pattern to create her beautiful ceramic pieces. The resource includes activity suggestions.

Halima Cassell and geometric pattern

Wu-Li (Patterns of Organic Energy)

Wu-Li (Patterns of Organic Energy) 2012

Halima Cassell (b.1975)

Rochdale Arts & Heritage Service


Palace and Mosque teachers' toolkit, Sheffield Museums
(All ages: art & design, history, RE)

This resource from Sheffield Museums looks at themes relating to art, history and religion through a selection of focus objects. The resource was originally created for the exhibition 'Palace and Mosque: Islamic treasures of the Middle East' from the V&A, which travelled to Sheffield as part of a world tour, but can be used independently of the exhibition.

Download the Palace and Mosque resource


Resources from the British Museum
(Secondary students: art & design, history, geography, religious education)

Find out about about the importance of religion, science and technology, architecture, travel and trade in the medieval Islamic world.

Explore Islamic Civilisations

Explore Arab people and culture through key themes: achievement, art, conflict, diversity, gender and global interaction.

Discover the Arab World

African art, history and culture

Ibeji Figure

Ibeji Figure c.1920

unknown artist

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Resources from Doncaster Museum
(Primary and secondary students: art & design)

Investigate how African and Arabic cultures meet by exploring the design, materials and techniques used to make a beautiful horse headdress in Doncaster Museum.

Explore the Kwalkwali resource

Learn about and discuss decorative beadwork mats from Somalia and have a go at designing one.

Beadwork mats from Somalia resource


Afrikan-Caribbean Maquerade
(Primary and secondary students: art & design, drama, music, religious education)

This Horniman Museum resource, hosted on Art UK's website, looks at the masquerade traditions of African cultures including the Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo peoples.

Explore African artworks, masquerade origins and traditions and discover activity ideas to support your lesson planning.

Visit the resource page

Clapper Bell

Clapper Bell

unknown artist

Horniman Museum and Gardens


African art and design at the British Museum
(Primary students: art & design)

Explore highlights from the British Museum's African Collection with PowerPoint presentations you can download and share with your class.

Visit Africa: Art and Design


Art UK resource: painting the everyday – Sam Ntiro's paintings of life in Tanzania
(Primary students: art & design, geography)

Find out about artist Sam Ntiro and village life in Tanzania with suggestions for a painting project inspired by depictions of the everyday.

Explore the resource

Banana Harvest

Banana Harvest

Sam Joseph Ntiro (1923–1993)

Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives


Asante gold at The Wallace Collection
(Secondary students: History)

Discover objects in The Wallace Collection that were made in the West African state of Asante, in present-day Ghana.

Learn about the history of the powerful Asante state, the importance of gold, trade, and the growth of British imperial power in the nineteenth century.

Explore the Asanti gold resource

Asian art, design and culture

Tate: Asia and art resources
(16+ and lifelong learners: art & design)

Discover art and ideas by artists working across the Asian continent in videos, articles and interviews and explore a selection of artworks from Tate's collection by Asian artists.

Explore Asia and art resources

Ishi's Light

Ishi's Light 2003

Anish Kapoor (b.1954)



Chinese art at the British Museum
(Primary students: art & design)

Learn about the techniques used by Chinese artists and craftspeople through objects in the British Museum, and use these objects to inspire creative activities.

(Although designed for class visits to the British Museum, the resources can also be used by teachers for information and ideas in the classroom.)

Chinese art classroom resource


Ashmolean Museum: Ancient China resource
(All ages: art & design)

Learn how to read, write and say Chinese numbers, and explore objects from the Chinese collection through zoomable images. (The images are also available for teachers to download.)

Explore the Ancient China resource


Explore Samurai armour with Leeds Museums
(Primary and secondary students: art & design; design and technology)

Find out about the Samurai and their place and role in Japanese society with this resource from Leeds Museums.

Download the resource: A suit of armour to terrify the enemy


Ashmolean Museum: Japanese art resource
(16+ students and lifelong learners: art & design)

Join curator Clare Pollard as she explores artworks from the Japanese art collection at the Ashmolean Museum.

Watch: Evening shower at Ōhashi Bridge by Utagawa Hiroshige I

Watch: Bijin, or beautiful woman with a skull by Watanabe Nangaku


Tate Kids: who is Sheela Gowda?
(Primary and secondary students: art & design)

Meet the Indian artist who transforms some very unlikely things into amazing artworks!

Who is Sheela Gowda?


Peep inside fashion designer Manish Aurora's studio
(Secondary and 16+ students and lifelong learners: art & design, design and technology)

In this V&A video, contemporary fashion designer Manish Arora offers exclusive insight into his work and inspirations.


Objects, health and spirituality
(Secondary students: PSHE, RE)

This resource from the Wellcome Collection explores the connections between a carved figure from the Nicobar Islands and health, physicality and spirituality.

Kareau figure: Treatment and rehabilitation in the early twentieth century

Māori and Australian Aboriginal culture and art

Art UK resource: Sculpture and Belief – Ngati Porou House Panels
(Primary students: RE, art & design, citizenship)

Learn about Māori culture, religion and belief and explore how patterns and symbols can carry meaning.

Sculpture and Belief: Ngati Porou House Panels

School visit to Perth Museum & Art Gallery

School visit to Perth Museum & Art Gallery


Aboriginal people recycle modern rubbish
(All ages)

Find out how Aboriginal people in Australia re-use and recycle rubbish to create useful objects with this resource from North Lincolnshire Museums.

Explore the resource


Introducing Judy Watson
(Secondary, 16+ students and lifelong learners: art & design, history)

Meet the artist exploring her Aboriginal heritage and using art to bring about social change with this Tate Look Closer resource.

Visit the resource


Explore artworks by Australian Aboriginal artists on Art UK

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