Asante Royal Art

In: Historical Events

Submitted By sngomane
Words 2138
Pages 9
Art theory 1 & History of Art and Design 1 Introduction to African Art
Africa is a vast continent, with many cultures distinct from one another, so that various different styles can be identified. Sculpture   While paintings and engravings are most frequently found in savanna areas, sculpture is most prevalent in the forests of West Africa, in particular the Congo Basin. Tradition is one manner in which a culture may be preserved. This is visible in a great deal of traditional African art. The preservation of one’s specific culture is a strong motivating force behind the production of African sculptures that are described as “tribal”. Because the art is meant to communicate the identity of a specific society, to promote the strength and longevity, such sculptures do not change their style very frequently. Therefore, artists work within a certain canon. This canon is determined by tradition, providing the artist with guidelines for the creation. It would, for example determine the proportions of the figure, its posture, etc. Such traditional sculptures therefore have developed a certain language: the viewer knows that certain parts mean certain things – e.g. lines on the face (scarification marks or tattoos) and the stylized hairstyle that specific society, etc. This specific language has been created over the decades, and allows the artist to communicate coherently. This coherent communication is vital, as art is intended primarily to fulfill a social function. It becomes a symbol which asserts the tribes identity. Religious motives may also underlie some African sculpture, as with the cult of ancestor worship, where it is necessary to bind the soul deceased ancestors to representations of them, in the form of sculptures. This cult varies greatly from one region to another. Sculptures may also form an important part of initiation rites, where guardians, overseers,…...

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