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Handmade Gift Ideas That Celebrate African Culture

Handmade Gift Ideas That Celebrate African Culture

May 01, 2023

When it comes to gift-giving, choosing a handmade African gift that celebrates African culture is a unique and meaningful way to show your appreciation and respect for the rich and diverse heritage of the continent. Here are 10 handmade gift ideas that showcase the beauty and creativity of African art, including African paintings that you can find on our website, www.tingatingaart.com:

  1. African Paintings - African paintings are a beautiful and versatile gift that can be enjoyed by art lovers of all ages. From bold and colorful abstracts to intricate and detailed landscapes, African paintings offer a wide range of styles and subject matter to choose from. Plus, by purchasing an African painting, you are supporting African artists and contributing to the preservation of traditional art forms. 

    African paintings are a diverse and vibrant art form that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the continent. African art has been influenced by a variety of factors, including religion, history, and social customs. As a result, African paintings come in many different styles and incorporate a wide range of techniques and materials.

    One of the most well-known styles of African painting is Tingatinga art, which originated in Tanzania in the 1960s. Tingatinga paintings are characterized by their bold colors, simple shapes, and whimsical subject matter, which often includes animals, birds, and people engaged in everyday activities. Tingatinga art is popular both in Tanzania and abroad and has become a symbol of African popular culture.

    Another popular style of African painting is Ndebele art, which originated in South Africa. Ndebele art is known for its use of bold, geometric shapes and bright colors, which are used to create intricate patterns and designs. Ndebele artists often paint directly onto the walls of their homes, using natural pigments made from clay, ash, and other materials.

    In addition to Tingatinga and Ndebele art, there are many other styles of African painting, each with their own unique characteristics and influences. Some artists draw inspiration from traditional African motifs and symbols, while others incorporate contemporary themes and techniques.

    African paintings are often created using a variety of materials, including oil paints, acrylics, watercolors, and natural pigments. Many African artists also use recycled materials, such as old newspapers and cardboard, to create their paintings, reflecting the importance of sustainability and resourcefulness in African culture. 

    african artist holding a painting
  2. African Jewelry - Handmade African jewelry is a stunning and unique way to incorporate African culture into your wardrobe. Whether it's a beaded necklace, a pair of wooden earrings, or a brass bangle, African jewelry is often adorned with intricate patterns and symbols that hold significant meaning. 

    African jewelry is a significant aspect of African culture and tradition, with each piece symbolizing different meanings and serving various purposes. The use of jewelry dates back to ancient times, where it was used for various purposes, including spiritual, cultural, and social. The art of jewelry-making in Africa is highly intricate and often involves the use of various materials such as gold, silver, copper, brass, and beads.

    African jewelry is highly diverse, with various styles, designs, and techniques used across the continent. For example, in West Africa, jewelry-making is characterized by intricate beadwork, while in East Africa, traditional jewelry often involves the use of natural materials such as cowrie shells, bone, and horn.

    Jewelry in African culture has significant meaning, with each piece often representing different values and beliefs. For instance, jewelry is often worn as a symbol of social status or as an indicator of one's role in society. It is also used to symbolize religious and spiritual beliefs, with many pieces featuring spiritual symbols such as the Ankh, which represents eternal life in ancient Egyptian culture.

    African jewelry is also used as a form of communication, with some pieces used to convey specific messages or to signal one's affiliation with a particular group or community. For instance, the Maasai tribe in East Africa is known for its elaborate beaded jewelry, which is used to communicate social status and other messages.

    In modern times, African jewelry has gained popularity beyond the continent, with many people across the world incorporating African-inspired jewelry into their fashion and style. The use of African jewelry has also become a popular trend in the fashion industry, with many designers incorporating traditional African jewelry into their collections.

  3. African Textiles - From vibrant Ankara fabrics to intricate Kuba cloth, African textiles are renowned for their intricate designs and bold colors. Consider gifting a handmade African textile as a statement piece for the home, such as a throw pillow or table runner. 

    African textiles are a diverse and vibrant art form that has played a significant role in the culture and history of the African continent. Textiles have been used in Africa for centuries as a means of communication, identity, and expression. They are made from a variety of materials, including cotton, silk, wool, raffia, and barkcloth, and are often decorated with intricate patterns and designs using a range of techniques such as dyeing, weaving, and embroidery.

    One of the most distinctive characteristics of African textiles is their use of color. Bright and bold colors are often used in African textiles, and these colors are symbolic of different meanings in different cultures. For example, in West Africa, the color blue is associated with the sky and water, while in East Africa, red is often used to symbolize the blood of ancestors and the power of life.

    African textiles are also rich in symbolism, with patterns and designs often reflecting traditional stories and beliefs. For example, the Adinkra symbols used by the Ashanti people of Ghana are graphic representations of proverbs and concepts that express the wisdom, values, and beliefs of their culture. Another example is the Kente cloth of the Akan people of Ghana and Ivory Coast, which uses geometric designs to represent different concepts such as knowledge, wealth, and spirituality.

    African textiles have become increasingly popular around the world, with many fashion designers and artists drawing inspiration from the vibrant colors and intricate designs. They are also a popular choice for home decor, with African textiles used to create everything from curtains and cushion covers to wall hangings and tablecloths.

  4. Hand-Carved African Figurines - Hand-carved African figurines are a popular form of African art that can be found in many different styles and sizes. From wooden masks to stone sculptures, these pieces often depict important cultural figures and symbols. 

    Hand-carved African figurines are a popular form of African art and a great gift idea for anyone interested in African culture. These figurines are often created using traditional carving techniques and are made from materials such as wood, bone, or ivory.

    African figurines come in a wide range of styles and designs, reflecting the diversity of cultures and traditions across the continent. Some figurines depict people or animals, while others are abstract or geometric in shape. Many feature intricate detailing, such as carved patterns or textured surfaces, that add depth and visual interest to the piece.

    One popular type of African figurine is the fertility doll. These dolls are believed to have the power to enhance fertility and promote healthy childbirth, making them a popular gift for couples trying to conceive or expecting a child. Fertility dolls typically feature a pregnant woman or a mother holding a child, and may be adorned with beads, shells, or other decorative elements.

    Another type of African figurine is the animal figure. These can range from realistic depictions of animals such as elephants, lions, and zebras, to more stylized or abstract forms. Animal figurines are often imbued with symbolic meaning, such as the strength and power of the elephant or the grace and speed of the cheetah.

    In addition to their artistic and cultural significance, hand-carved African figurines are also prized for their craftsmanship and durability. Many are created using traditional tools and techniques that have been passed down through generations of carvers, and are designed to last for many years.

  5. African Pottery - African pottery is a beautiful and functional way to bring African culture into the home. From decorative vases to functional bowls, African pottery is often adorned with intricate patterns and designs. 

    African pottery is a diverse and rich art form that has been practiced on the African continent for thousands of years. The craft of pottery making in Africa has evolved over time to reflect the cultural, artistic, and social values of the various regions and peoples across the continent. African pottery is renowned for its beauty, practicality, and its cultural significance.

    One of the most notable aspects of African pottery is its wide range of shapes, sizes, and designs. African potters have developed a vast array of forms and techniques to create everything from simple, functional pieces to elaborate, sculptural works of art. Some examples of popular African pottery forms include large storage jars, water and cooking vessels, bowls, cups, and figurative sculptures.

    African pottery is also known for its decorative techniques. Many potters use a variety of surface treatments to add color and texture to their work. Some of the most common techniques include burnishing, carving, painting, and incising. African potters often use earthy, natural colors and motifs inspired by nature, such as animals, plants, and geometric patterns.

    In many African societies, pottery has traditionally played an important role in daily life. Pottery was used for storing and transporting food and water, as well as for cooking and serving meals. Additionally, many African cultures believe that pottery has spiritual or magical properties and is used in religious or ceremonial contexts.

    In recent years, African pottery has become increasingly popular as a decorative art form. Collectors and art enthusiasts around the world are drawn to the unique beauty and cultural significance of African pottery. African pottery is often incorporated into interior design schemes, and many contemporary artists are influenced by traditional African pottery techniques and motifs.

  6. African Masks - African masks are a powerful and symbolic form of African art that have been used in cultural and religious ceremonies for centuries. Whether it's a hand-carved wooden mask or a beaded ceremonial mask, these pieces make a striking and unique gift. 

    African masks are one of the most iconic and recognizable forms of African art. They are a key part of the continent's rich cultural heritage, used in a wide range of rituals and ceremonies. African masks are often made from wood, but can also be made from other materials such as metal, cloth, and even hair.

    One of the most important functions of African masks is their use in religious and spiritual practices. They are believed to have spiritual power and are used to communicate with ancestors and other spirits. In some cultures, masks are worn during dances or other performances, which are believed to connect the performers to the spiritual realm.

    African masks can be highly stylized and abstract, with exaggerated features and bold colors. They often feature geometric patterns and symbols that are significant to the culture they come from. Some masks are meant to represent specific animals or spirits, while others are more abstract and symbolic.

    In addition to their spiritual and cultural significance, African masks have also become popular in the art world. Many collectors and art enthusiasts appreciate their intricate designs and the skill required to create them. They are often displayed in museums and galleries around the world, and can command high prices at auction.

  7. African Drums - Handmade African drums are a beautiful and functional gift that can be enjoyed by musicians and music lovers alike. From djembe drums to kalimbas, African drums come in a variety of styles and sizes and offer a distinctive sound that is unique to the continent. 

    African drums are an essential part of African musical culture and have been used for centuries for various purposes, including communication, entertainment, and religious rituals. The drums have a rich history and are an important symbol of African culture and heritage.

    There are various types of African drums, each with its unique sound and cultural significance. One of the most common types of African drums is the Djembe, which originated from the Malinke people of West Africa. The Djembe is typically made from a hollowed-out hardwood tree trunk and has a goatskin head stretched over the top. It produces a deep, resonant sound and is often used in a variety of musical genres, including traditional African music, world music, and even modern pop and rock.

    Another type of African drum is the Talking Drum, which is found in West Africa and is traditionally used for communication. The drum produces a unique sound that mimics the tone and intonation of human speech, and it was used to transmit messages over long distances in ancient African societies.

    African drums have also been used in religious ceremonies and rituals. For instance, the Ashanti people of Ghana use the Kpanlogo drum in their traditional funeral ceremonies, while the Yoruba people of Nigeria use the Bata drum in their religious rituals to communicate with the gods and ancestors.

    In addition to their cultural significance, African drums are also popular around the world as musical instruments and are often used in modern music genres such as jazz, reggae, and hip-hop.

  8. African Beadwork - African beadwork is a beautiful and intricate form of art that is often used to adorn clothing, accessories, and home decor. From beaded necklaces to intricately beaded baskets, African beadwork offers a wide range of styles and designs to choose from. 

    African beadwork is an important aspect of African culture, with a rich history and diverse range of styles and techniques. Beadwork has been an integral part of African culture for centuries, used for both decorative and functional purposes.

    Beadwork is traditionally made using materials such as glass beads, seeds, shells, bones, and stones. The beads are often strung together to create intricate patterns and designs. The colors, shapes, and patterns of the beads hold symbolic significance and are often used to communicate messages or represent specific meanings.

    In Africa, beadwork is used in a variety of ways, from creating ceremonial headdresses and jewelry to decorating clothing, bags, and household items. Beadwork is also used to express cultural identity and can be used to signify social status or denote specific tribal affiliations.

    One notable example of African beadwork is the Zulu love letter, a traditional form of communication used in South Africa. The love letter is made up of a series of colorful beads, each representing a different message or sentiment. The colors of the beads and their arrangement hold specific meaning, allowing the sender to communicate their feelings without the need for words.

    African beadwork continues to be a vibrant and important aspect of African culture today. Many African artisans create beautiful beadwork pieces, from intricate jewelry to beaded home décor items. Beadwork also provides economic opportunities for many African communities, with beadwork cooperatives and collectives forming to promote and sell handmade beadwork items.

  9. African Woodcarvings - African woodcarvings are a popular form of African art that can be found in many different styles and sizes. From animal figurines to intricately carved bowls, these pieces showcase the skill and creativity of African artisans. 

    African woodcarvings are an important form of traditional art in many African countries, including Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. These carvings are typically made from a single piece of wood and can range in size from small figurines to life-size sculptures. They are created using a variety of techniques and tools, including chisels, knives, and sandpaper.

    African woodcarvings often depict human figures, animals, and mythical creatures, and are characterized by their stylized forms and intricate detailing. The carvings can be highly realistic or highly abstract, depending on the artist's style and the intended use of the piece.

    In many African cultures, woodcarvings are used in religious and cultural ceremonies, and are believed to have spiritual power and significance. They can also be used as decorative objects in homes and public spaces, or as functional items such as masks and stools.

    One of the most famous styles of African woodcarving is the Makonde style, which originates from Tanzania and Mozambique. Makonde carvings are known for their intricate, abstract designs and are often used to depict the human form in a way that emphasizes movement and fluidity.

    African woodcarvings are highly valued by collectors and art enthusiasts around the world, and can be found in museums and galleries as well as private collections. They are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Africa, and serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving traditional arts and crafts in a rapidly changing world.

  10. African Basketry - African basketry is a functional and beautiful way to incorporate African culture into the home. From woven grass baskets to intricately patterned reed baskets, African basketry is often adorned with vibrant colors and unique designs. 

    African basketry is a traditional craft that has been practiced for thousands of years. It involves weaving natural fibers such as grasses, leaves, bark, and other plant materials into intricate designs to create baskets and other functional objects. Basketry is an integral part of African culture and is used for a wide range of purposes, from carrying food and water to storing and transporting goods.

    African basketry is known for its vibrant colors and intricate patterns, which are often inspired by the natural world. The designs can range from simple geometric shapes to more complex motifs that incorporate animals, plants, and other cultural symbols. Each region and community has its own unique style and techniques, passed down from generation to generation.

    One of the most famous African basketry traditions is the Zulu basketry from South Africa. Zulu baskets are woven from ilala palm leaves, which are harvested, dyed, and then woven into intricate patterns using a coil technique. The baskets are often used for storage, and the designs can include animal motifs, geometric patterns, and abstract shapes.

    Another famous African basketry tradition is the Bolga basketry from Ghana. Bolga baskets are woven from elephant grass, a tough and durable material that is colored using natural dyes. The baskets are often used for carrying goods, and their unique shapes and designs make them popular for decorative purposes as well.

    African basketry has gained popularity worldwide, and today, many artisans are creating contemporary designs that blend traditional techniques with modern materials and aesthetics. African baskets make beautiful and unique gifts, and can be used for a variety of purposes, including storage, decoration, and carrying items.

  11. Beaded Jewelry: African beadwork is known for its intricate patterns and vibrant colors. You can find a variety of beaded jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, that feature traditional African designs. 

    Beaded jewelry is a popular form of handmade accessory in many African cultures. It is often created using various materials such as glass, wood, bone, and even natural elements like seeds and shells. African beaded jewelry is known for its intricate designs and vibrant colors, which are used to express cultural symbolism and beliefs.

    Beaded jewelry has been a part of African culture for centuries and is still widely used today in various ceremonies, celebrations, and everyday wear. In many African countries, beaded jewelry is often worn as a symbol of status, wealth, and cultural identity. For example, Maasai women in Kenya and Tanzania wear intricate beaded necklaces and bracelets as a sign of their cultural heritage and to represent their age and social status.

    Beaded jewelry is also popular among tourists and visitors to Africa, who often purchase handmade pieces as souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home. Many African artisans and designers have turned their love for beaded jewelry into successful businesses, selling their creations online or in local markets.

  12. Kente Cloth Scarf: Kente cloth is a brightly colored, handwoven fabric that is native to Ghana. A Kente cloth scarf is a beautiful and unique accessory that will add a pop of color to any outfit. 

    Kente cloth is a brightly colored, traditional African fabric that originated from the Ashanti people of Ghana. It is a woven fabric made from interlaced strips of silk and cotton, with intricate patterns and designs that carry cultural and historical significance.

    The Kente cloth scarf is a popular accessory that has gained worldwide recognition due to its striking beauty and cultural significance. It can be worn as a fashion statement, as well as a symbol of African heritage and pride.

    The patterns on Kente cloth scarves are not only visually stunning but also carry symbolic meanings. Each color and pattern represents a particular concept or idea, such as black for maturation and spiritual energy, white for purity and innocence, and green for growth and renewal. The combination of these colors and patterns can be tailored to specific occasions or messages.

    Kente cloth scarves are versatile and can be worn in different ways, such as around the neck, as a headwrap, or as a belt. They make excellent handmade gifts and are perfect for those who appreciate African culture and heritage.

  13. African Print Apron: An apron made with traditional African wax print fabric is a great gift for anyone who loves to cook or bake. It's both functional and stylish, and will add a touch of African flair to any kitchen. 

    An African print apron is a handmade garment typically worn over the front of the body for protection while cooking, cleaning, or performing other tasks. The apron is made from colorful and bold African print fabrics that are known for their intricate patterns and designs.

    African print fabrics are traditionally made using a technique called wax printing, where melted wax is applied to the fabric before it is dyed. The wax creates a pattern that resists the dye, resulting in a unique and vibrant design.

    African print aprons are often worn by women in African households while cooking or serving meals. They are also used as decorative pieces in the kitchen or dining area. African print aprons can be found in a range of styles, from simple and functional to more elaborate and decorative designs.

    These aprons are not only practical but also offer a way to celebrate and honor African culture. They make great gifts for anyone who loves cooking, entertaining, or collecting handmade items.

  14. Leather Goods: Leatherworking is a traditional craft in many African cultures, and you can find a variety of handmade leather goods, such as bags, wallets, and belts, that feature unique African designs. 

    Leather goods have been a part of African culture for centuries, with many countries on the continent having a long tradition of working with leather to create a wide range of products, from footwear to bags and accessories.

    One of the key materials used in African leatherworking is cowhide, which is valued for its durability and strength. Leatherworkers often use traditional techniques, such as tanning hides using natural materials like tree bark, to create high-quality leather that is both strong and supple.

    In many African countries, leather goods are an important part of the local economy, with many artisans and small businesses specializing in leatherworking. These craftspeople create a wide range of products, from simple sandals and belts to intricate bags and backpacks, using traditional techniques and designs that reflect their local culture and traditions.

    In addition to their practical use, leather goods are often highly valued as works of art in their own right. Many African leatherworkers incorporate intricate designs and motifs into their products, often using traditional symbols and patterns that have been passed down through generations.

  15. Woven Baskets: Basket weaving is another traditional craft that is common in many African cultures. Handwoven baskets are both beautiful and practical, and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as storing blankets, holding plants, or serving as decorative pieces. 

    Woven baskets are an important aspect of African culture and have been used for a variety of purposes for centuries. These baskets are typically handwoven using natural materials such as grasses, leaves, and reeds, and are often decorated with intricate patterns and designs that reflect the cultural traditions of the people who create them.

    In many African communities, woven baskets have practical uses such as carrying and storing food, water, and other household items. They are also used for ceremonial purposes, such as during weddings or funerals, where they are filled with gifts or offerings.

    Woven baskets are not only functional, but they also hold significant cultural and symbolic meanings. For example, in some African communities, the act of weaving baskets is seen as a sacred tradition passed down from generation to generation. The patterns and designs on the baskets often have specific meanings, such as representing certain animals or plants that hold cultural significance.

    In addition to their practical uses and cultural significance, woven baskets are also prized for their beauty and craftsmanship. Many African artisans take great care in creating baskets with intricate patterns and designs, using techniques that have been passed down for centuries.

    For those interested in celebrating African culture in their homes, woven baskets make for excellent decorative pieces that can add a touch of traditional African style to any room. They can be displayed on shelves, hung on walls, or used as centerpieces on tables.

    Incorporating African woven baskets into your home decor can also be a great way to showcase your appreciation for African art and support the artisans who create them. By purchasing handwoven baskets from African artisans, you can help support local economies and preserve traditional African art forms.

In conclusion, choosing a handmade gift that celebrates African culture is a meaningful way to show your appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the continent. From African paintings to beaded jewelry to hand-carved figurines, there are many different handmade gift ideas to choose from that showcase the unique artistry and craftsmanship of African artisans.

If you are interested in purchasing African paintings, be sure to check out our website, www.tingatingaart.com, for a wide selection of beautiful and authentic African art.



Size Guide

Centimeters (CM)

Inches (IN)

50CM x 40CM

19 11/16 in X 15 3/4 in

50CM x 50CM

19 11/16 in X 19 11/16 in

60CM x 60CM

23 5/8 in X 23 5/8 in

70CM x 50CM

27 9/16 in X 19 11/16 in

80CM x 60CM

31 1/2 in X 23 5/8 in

100CM x 80CM

39 3/8 in X 31 1/2 in

140CM x 110CM

55 1/8 in X 43 5/16 in