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THE INSIGHT OF AFRICA AND AFRICAN ARTS

Massai Warrior's by Cornelius Annor

AFRICA being the cradle of civilization and the trace of origin of mankind is an undeniable fact scientists, archaeologists, Professors and anthropologists have proved to the world. Archaeologist Eric Higgs, Professor Chester Chard of University of Wisconsin, Scientist Albert Churchward and The Greatest Anthropologist Runoko Rashidi born in 1954 are the few great personalities who have contributed in the discovery and proving of this fact. For example, British scientist Albert Churchward (1852-1925) notes that the first members of human family appeared in Central Africa. These early Africans moved to different corners of the planet and accordingly acquired the differences which today can be found in people living on different parts of the world.  Those who settled in the temperate zones lost some of their pigmentation and their skin acquired a paler shade. Africans exhibited civilization through their inbuilt artistic and scientific way of life. Hunting with bolas, stone knives, canoe paddles, Spears, harpoons bows and arrow wind is led to the introduction of mechanical designs and devices. Also they lived to form the first organizational forms of family and tribe. The use of reed pipes, single strings, drums and pumpkin rattle, blocks of wooden and hollow pads to form great sounds of African music .Africans through their culture in the form drawings, dance and sculptures introduced art to the existence of mankind.

Art is the imagination of an artist put to work to create a piece and  also expresses ideas about a topic. Works created by artists can be paintings, sculptures and so on. Most of these works show the feelings or tell who the artist is and sometimes send a message.

Africa has gained the image as the home of the history of the world with the help of African art history. Art painting started in Africa and Rock Art was very prominent where elders in the society wrote stories on walls and caves to guide the younger generation. The West have huge interest in collecting African art both contemporary and the ones that represent the tribes of the people and now a lot of people including investors, governments and the ordinary person take keen interest in African art.

Galleries and auction sales are used as a means of celebrating the artist and the art piece. Also they shed more light on African art history and also help restore lost traditions from their roots.

Art objects made by each African cultural groups reflects its livelihood, that is early hunters and gatherers made arts to emphasize their hairstyles, garments, jewelry and farmers were best known for their sculptures made of clay, wood and metal.

African arts also represents its geography, rock art is mostly found in desert areas like Egypt. Art made of wood are found in the forest regions of sub Saharan Africa. Another form of art is the political organization, masks are very popular in Africa they represent power and authority in some state. Also art represents religious beliefs with greater or lesser emphasis on ancestral worship.

There is no clear difference in the cultures of African countries with regards to what fine art is and also applied art. In the west, fine arts created by artists are put under the limelight, and it gains all the attention some are also displayed in museums, on the other hand, the craftsmen do not get the needed attention but their works are very useful and should be appreciated they include pottery, furniture, textiles and so on and some people feel these should not be given attention because it does not belong to the 'elite art'. In Africa, every art serves a purpose and most local dialects in Africa do not have a word for 'art' and also museums are not very popular or form part of any African culture.

Painting representing the African community near the Naamse Poort - Chéri Samba Porte de Namur, porte de l'amour

Collectionair | J'aime la couleur

Cheri Samba is a painter from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is one of the best known contemporary African artist with his works being included in the collections of the center of Georges Pompidou in Pari and the Museum of Modern Art NewYork. Samba says “I appeal to people’s conscious. I paint reality even if it’s shocking, I put humor and color into it to attract people. In his piece J’aire la couleur goes into race and self identity. It explains how Samba believes that experience and process of sustaining recreation a common identity Acura’s African diaspora will show how to strengthen a community.

Image of El Anatsui

African Baroque: The Sculpture of El Anatsui

El Anatsui is a Ghanaian sculptor who has drawn particular international attention for his “bottle top installation”. These installations consist of thousands of aluminum pieces source firm alcohol recycling stations and sewn together with copper wire which have then transformed into metallic cloth-like wall sculptures.  El Anatsui’s work represents links in the evolving narrative of memory and identity. In a statement “when I create works it’s in my view a metaphor reflecting an alternative response to examine possibilities and extend the boundaries in art".

Flying Girls. Photo credit: pejualatise.com

Wrapture: a Story of Cloth

Nigerian artist, poet, writer and a fellow at the National Museum of African Art part of the Smithsonian institute, Peju Alatise art practice focuses on the search of truth. As a result her works explores political and religious issues as well as issues affecting women. She strongly believed an artist should depict the life she lives.

Art works send important and essential messages about the cultures of African countries, and through the art works of the various artists people understand Africa more with regards to the customs, belief systems and political system. Africa art provides employment for the various art enthusiasts and also the various arts and cultural related events attract tourists generating revenue in various forms to the countries. For instance West Africa’s premiere international art fair Art X Lagos attracts art enthusiasts across the world including Emmanuel Macron visited the 2018 edition of Art X Lagos.

ART X LAGOS EXHIBITS CONTEMPORARY NIGERIAN ART DURING PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON’S VISIT

To conclude, Africa art has changed over the years and now Africa enjoys a rich sense of contemporary arts. African art have an influence on the world and many countries can take pride in having important art centers that have many great works of Africa from the past and present.