Traditional African art
Generally speaking, the relative practicality and aesthetics of traditional African art were its distinctive features. For traditional Africans, art was a useful and essential component of daily life. Traditional African communities included elements of government, religion, education, employment, and amusement that were all intertwined. No matter how concrete or intangible, all artistic creations were intricately intertwined into the socio-religious milieu which they were created. They all played major roles in forging a sense of community. Folktales and festivals, for example, contributed to the achievement of this bound.
Igbaro (2010) admits that “art permeates every strata of life, because it was then prestigious to be linked with art and art works, moreover that, it was religiously imperative to do so”. In his article on the development of art and religion in Nigeria.
Pre-colonial Africans based the majority of their daily events on their faith in the supernatural. and their veneration of their ancestors through festivals and rituals.
Religion and art both have close ties. In all spheres of human endeavour, a shared identity between the two was unavoidable.
The study that they were various approaches of using artifacts as spiritual communication tools . Some were placement on shrines and altars. For instance, cast brass commemorative heads are displayed on royal ancestral shrines in the kingdom of Benin. These heads act as a point of contact with the king’s royal predecessors and serve to preserve memories of their rule.
According to Christa (2006), the Bwa practise an annual ritual of renewal as a way to maintain their good relations with the spirits of nature.
Personal disasters like sickness, death, or barrenness or societal crises like war or drought are also reasons to ask the spirits for help.
Africans practised religion to connect with the spiritual realm for the sake of societal harmony and well-being.
They acknowledge that all of humanity’s good and bad fates comes from the supernatural god’s whims. In pre-colonial African society, art served a variety of important purposes.
In addition to its religious purposes, supporting one of its many definitions that reads, “Art is life.”
Additionally, to serving aesthetic purposes; the Traditional African art served purposes in politics, economics, society, culture, education, and other areas of life. It was also for resolving domestic issues etc. These Traditional African art styles did, however, have some visual components.
These visual components does not include in the piece by accident or due to the artist’s limitations in how he chose to interpret and depict his visual sense. However, they use to fulfil metaphorical and symbolic purposes. These visual components, which largely consisted of human figures, greatly altered from their original dimensions.
For instance, in Nok art and Akuaba art, among others, the distortion of the head, navel, female breast, or male reproductive organ. Surely does not indicate artistic failure on the side of the creators. However, it done on purpose to emphasise a symbolic point.
For instance, the head blows out of proportion to the rest of the body in traditional Yoruba sculptures. This is simply to symbolise the magical importance given to the head. Also, as a symbol of a person’s identity and destiny and as a metaphorical representation of leadership.
Traditional African art
Leave a Reply