Art in Africa
African art comes from many different cultures within Africa and the diaspora. Each ethnic region within Africa has their own way of expression.
This art was initially created for useful purposes and not for display. The creators used these objects to gather food, tell stories, to dress themselves and to communicate with the spirit world. Some were just drawings depicting day to day lives of the people. West Africa is famous for its spirit masks and bronze plaques while North African art ranges from architecture, sculptures, paintings as well as metalwork and gold molding. East African art such as Ethiopian art is more religious and Southern African art is more centered around the wildlife in the area. African art in the form of wall hung paintings was not popular in the past but nowadays these types of art work is mass produced and sold in the streets almost everywhere in Africa.
Some art forms such as the wearing of masks is accompanied by dance and song as these are very pivotal elements of the African culture. Formerly known as the kingdom of Benin (modern-day Nigeria) had palaces which were decorated with bronze plaques and sculptures. This collection of items is on display in various museums such as the British museum, in Germany and in the United States of America. These beautiful pieces were made using lost wax castings and are considered the best ever made using this technique.
North African art stems mostly from the Islamic faith and the cultures of the middle eastern countries. This can be seen in their ceramic pottery, jewelry, architecture and paintings. Egypt has the most intriguing architecture which are the pyramids which have been dated as far back as 2589 BC according to literature. As most Africans, east African tribes also use beautiful and colorful beads to adorn themselves and their objects. Masks, statues and poles used to communicate with deceased members of society can also be found in this region. The Church of Saint George in Ethiopia stands out as an example of creative artwork with exceptional murals painted on its walls. Their art is part of their culture and can be seen in their art work as well as their clothing and hairstyles.
Southern Africa has some of the largest population of wildlife in the world so it is natural that most artworks that you will find will have images of wildlife including the crafts, basketry, sculptures and paintings which include rock paintings. Most African artworks are affordable and readily accessible on the streets. Considering the large number of artworks produced by the artists one would think that there will be plenty of museums to display these beautiful creations but sadly most artists have to sell their works on the streets. This makes lives for these artists a bit harder because the effort put into making the pieces does not equate to the revenue made since most pieces are sold at bargain prices. Art is very much alive and well in Africa and every nation has a lot to offer in terms of diversity so come and enjoy our creations with us.