Communities play an important role in the art industry, especially when it comes to supporting and nurturing African art. Once a community is supportive of an artist, the artist will find that both their success increases and their notoriety improves. Additionally, not only will the arts flourish, but the community will also see an increase in their tourist economy and in their overall morale. Below are just a few reasons why it’s important for communities to support local art.
Some philosophers or theories say that art is a way to imitate what you see, as such accuracy and honesty in art are highly valued.
Plato’s theory on art purports that art is nothing more than a copy of a copy of an ideal, thrice removed. Using a couch as an example he believed that the true artist was a god, who then inspired the carpenter, who then inspired the painter.
Contemporary African art is popularly understood as art made by artists in Africa or Africans in the diaspora in the post-colonial era. In examining the evolution of African art, it is imperative to look back to the early practising artists, whose works have stood through time and have been influential to many 21st century artists.
Our list is not at all exhaustive, nevertheless, it features African art masters who have not only contributed to the development of African art on the continent, but to the global art scene.
We have all seen the Nok sculptures and the Benin Bronze figures, and many of us have come to recognise African tapestries and hangings. These were the earliest forms of African crafts that came to be defined as art by colonial masters.
On this side of the continent however, these pieces were purely regarded as functional – either as symbolic representations of the gods, or as functional talismans linked to our lineage and our heritage. It was only with the Western appreciation of our local artefacts that we began to define these cultural staples as artistic pieces, capable of delighting the senses and creating pleasure when viewed.
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