The Legacies of African Art

By: Anthony Riali

It is because of our African Art and it's legacy, that we can today convey ourselves in so various different ways. If one thinks of how the ancient kings and queens of the various tribes were adorned with gold and other costly metals, one sees how skillful the artists had to be.

Think of the Egyptian Pharaohs and their fascination with tombs and head gear. How they used color to bring forth a message or inner beliefs. The southern tribes of Africa also played a essential role in art, depicting their daily life on rock canvases.

When looking at the visual aspect of African Art, one thinks that the same genre is carried through the whole continent. This is not correct as there are various facets in different societies which lends not only to a singularity or distinctiveness but also to an undetected unity. So one would be forgiven for thinking that all African Art is the same.

One of the most fashioned is the human figure or human body. The way a figure is crafted would be completely up to the artist's impression of such. Things like religion, ancestry, life experience or animals, would bear witness to a lot of themes. It is therefore not uncommon to use a creature and a human in one singular piece of art. Like for instance a human figure intertwined with a god-like figure, creating a mythical creature of sorts.

Their fine art is also captured in ceremonial events and in the performance art. Because of this, attention to minute detail is given, to produce the illusion of a living being. Ceremonial textiles are woven or adorned in such a way that the wearer becomes the sculpture or spirit.

African Art is rich with heritage and talent.

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