African art

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African art
African art is a term typically used for the art of Sub-Saharan Africa, as the art of the North African areas along the Mediterranean coast has long been part of different traditions and for more than a millennium has mostly formed part of Islamic art, although with many particular characteristics. The Art of Ethiopia, with a long Christian tradition, is also different from that of most of Africa, where animist religion (with Islam in the north) was dominant until relatively recently. Often, casual observers tend to generalize "traditional" African art, but the continent is full of people, societies and civilizations, each with a unique visual culture. The definition may also include the art of the African Diasporas, such as the art of African Americans. Despite this diversity, there are some unifying artistic themes when considering the totality of the visual culture from the continent of Africa.[1] Most African sculpture was historically in wood and other organic materials that have not survived from earlier than, at most, a few centuries ago; older pottery figures can be found from a number of areas. Masks are important elements in the art of many peoples, along with human figures, often highly stylized. There is a vast variety of styles, often varying within the same context of origin depending on the use of the object, but wide regional trends are apparent; sculpture is most common among "groups of settled cultivators in the areas drained by the Niger and Congo rivers" in West Africa.[2] Direct images of deities are relatively infrequent, but masks in particular are or were often made for religious ceremonies; today many are made for tourists as "airport art".[3] African masks were an influence on European Modernist art,[4] which was inspired by their lack of concern for naturalistic depiction. Later West African cultures developed bronze casting for reliefs, like the famous Benin Bronzes, to decorate palaces and for very fine naturalistic royal heads from around the Yoruba town of Ife, in terracotta as well as metal, from the 12th–14th centuries. Akan goldweights are a form of small metal

Mask from Gabon

Mambila figure, Nigeria

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may reference chiefs. 12th century A. are known for Tinga Tinga paintings and Makonde sculptures. most notably in the addition of the human figure (the human figure typically did not appear in Portuguese saltcellars). makes use of highly abstracted and regimented visual canons. dancers. flat surfaces and arms and legs shaped like cylinders. in many areas shorter of large timber to carve. House paintings . [7] For example. Southern Africa’s oldest known clay figures date from 400 to 600 AD and have cylindrical heads with a mixture of human and animal features. The human figure may symbolize the living or the dead.African art 2 period 1400–1900. Ife. contributing a narrative element rare in African sculpture. This is because many African artworks generalize stylistic norms. some apparently represent proverbs.[6] The culture from Great Zimbabwe left more impressive buildings than sculpture.[5] Many West African figures are used in religious rituals and are often coated with materials placed on them for ceremonial offerings. who created elaborate ivory saltcellars that were hybrids of African and European designs. in the fifteenth century Portugal traded with the Sapi culture near Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa. Modern Zimbabwean sculptors in soapstone have achieved considerable international success. and royal regalia included impressive gold sculptured elements.[8] Ancient Egyptian art. thought of as naturalistically depictive. Eastern Africans. 19th century Thematic elements • Emphasis on the human figure: The human figure has always been the primary subject matter for most African art.D. the main distinguishing characteristics include heart-shaped faces that are curved inward and display patterns of circles and dots.[9] • Emphasis on sculpture: African artists tend to favor three-dimensional artworks over two-dimensional works. especially in painting. • Visual abstraction: African artworks tend to favor visual abstraction over naturalistic representation. The Mande-speaking peoples of the same region make pieces from wood with broad. but the eight soapstone Zimbabwe Birds appear to have had a special significance and were presumably mounted on monoliths. Nigeria c. or various trades such as drummers or hunters. as well as the use of different colors to represent the qualities and characteristics of an individual being depicted. also usually Yoruba bronze head sculpture. Another common theme is the inter-morphosis of human and animal. and this emphasis even influenced certain European traditions. Yombe-sculpture. In Central Africa.. Even many African paintings or cloth works were meant to be experienced three-dimensionally. or even may be an anthropomorphic representation of a god or have other votive function. however. There is also tradition of producing textile art.

" Most societies in Africa have names for their masks. in fact. are located within the geographic boundaries of the African continent. Louis Senghor. the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. ancient Egypt. forcing the viewer to walk around the work to experience it fully. there has been a movement among African art historians and other scholars to include the visual culture of these areas. Ethiopia: Cross of Emperor Tewodros. Islamic and Mediterranean cultures. laypersons will gain a greater understanding of the continent's cultural diversity. For example. In African thought. The non-black peoples of North Africa. The notion is that by including all African cultures and their visual culture in African art.African art are often seen as a continuous design wrapped around a house. the designation "African" was usually only bestowed on the arts of "Black Africa". but this single name incorporates not only the sculpture. the Mediterranean and indigenous black African societies makes little sense. referred to this as "dynamic symmetry. traditional African masks and costumes very often are used in communal." William Fagg. Senegal’s first president. the arts of the people of the African diaspora. since all the cultures that produced them. Recently. and the spirits that reside within.1974 Scope Until recently. the dance associated with it. the peoples living in Sub-Saharan Africa.[11] 3 Makonde carving c. rather than in static ones. the three cannot be differentiated. compared it to the logarithmic mapping of natural growth by biologist D’Arcy Thompson.[10] • Emphasis on performance art: An extension of the utilitarianism and three-dimensionality of traditional African art is the fact that much of it is crafted for use in performance contexts. More recently it has been described in terms of fractal geometry. scholars have found that drawing distinct divisions between Muslim areas. a readiness to move. Since there was often a confluence of traditional African. such as the diamonds at different scales in the Kasai pattern at right. • Nonlinear scaling: Often a small part of an African design will look similar to a larger part. generally were not included under the rubric of African art. ceremonial contexts. however. while decorated cloths are worn as decorative or ceremonial garments. but also the meanings of the mask. in Brazil. where they are "danced. early 19th Century . transforming the wearer into a living sculpture. have also begun to be included in the study of African art. the people of the Horn of Africa. Distinct from the static form of traditional Western sculpture African art displays animation. Finally. as well as the art of ancient Egypt. the British art historian.

[12] African jewelry is made from such diverse materials as Tiger's eye stone. became highly prestigious in much of West Africa. some of A bronze ceremonial vessel made around the 9th the most notable advancements include the bronzework century. The Nubian Kingdom of Kush in modern Sudan was in close and often hostile contact with Egypt. Sculptures can be wooden. and produced monumental sculpture mostly derivative of styles to the north. beads and ebony wood.African art 4 Materials African art takes many forms and as such is made from many different materials. In West Africa. 6th century BC–6th century CE More complex methods of producing art were developed in sub-Saharan Africa around the 10th century. or purely for aesthetics. with clay figures typically with elongated bodies and angular shapes. ancient Egyptian paintings and artifacts. African rock art in the Sahara in Niger preserves 6000-year-old carvings. haematite. mud cloth and kente cloth.[13] Various forms of textiles are made including chitenge. the earliest known sculptures are from the Nok culture which thrived between 500 BC and 500 AD in modern Nigeria. Nok terracotta. plant life. sometimes being limited to the work of court artisans and identified with royalty. as with the Benin Bronzes. or natural designs and shapes. often ornamented with ivory and precious stones. Often depicting the abundance of surrounding nature. Jewelry is a popular art form and is used to indicate rank. Mosaics made of butterfly wings or colored sand are popular in west Africa. sisal. of Igbo Ukwu and the terracottas and metalworks of Ile Ife Bronze and brass castings. one of the bronzes found at Igbo Ukwu.[14] Along with sub-Saharan Africa. the art was often abstract interpretations of animals. affiliation with a group. and indigenous southern crafts also contributed greatly to African art. coconut shell. ceramic or carved out of stone like the famous Shona sculptures. . the cultural arts of the western tribes. History The origins of African art lie long before recorded history.

and as crest. At the start of the twentieth century. plant fibers (such as raffia). replacing unnecessary decoration (so criticized by Adolf Loos). Art ceased to be merely and primarily aesthetic. ceremonial masks are used for celebrations. During the mask ceremony the dancer goes into deep trance. By these means. surfaces are modelled by geometric patterns. Colonization and the slave trade in Africa during the nineteenth century set up a Western understanding hinged on the belief that African art lacked technical ability due to its low socioeconomic status. organisation and reorganisation of forms. Rationalist and Expressionist architecture discovered in Africa a new repertoire of proto-symbols. and hence more truly and profoundly aesthetic than ever before. Paul Gauguin and Modigliani became aware of. produced not only by responding to the faculty of sight. The masks are worn by a chosen or initiated dancer. Vincent van Gogh. strip-woven Kente cloth of Ghana. Statues. Unlike Europe. the sensual projects of Patricio Pouchulu honour the bare wooden sculptures of the Dogon and Baoulé. Western architects can now extend towards different art expressions. but became also a true medium for philosophic and intellectual discourse. crop harvesting. emotion and mystical and religious experience. but also and often primarily. are often inlaid with cowrie shells. metal studs and nails. the space is now composed by single forms that do not only refer to human proportions and scale. and can be decorated with: Ivory. which was commonly covered by material as part of the disguise. Traditional art Traditional art describes the most popular and studied forms of African art which are typically found in museum collections. European architects transformed buildings into big-scale sculptures. Wooden masks. Most African masks are made with wood. Futurist. African art. African art never established boundaries between body art. and inspired by. which might either be human or animal or of mythical creatures. artists like Picasso. both in language and symbolism. The powerful work of John Lautner reminds of artifacts from the Yoruba.[15] In a situation where the established avant garde was straining against the constraints imposed by serving the world of appearances. and war preparation. Pioneers like Antonio Sant'Elia. in a formal level. Decorative clothing is also commonplace and comprises another large part of African art. resting upon the head. In their original contexts. The study of and response to African Art. thanks to this. and semi-precious gems also are included in the masks. but to its psychology." The term carries with it negative connotations of underdevelopment and poverty. and the exploration of emotional and psychological areas hitherto unseen in Western Art. encasing the entire head. The masks can be worn in three different ways: vertically covering the face: as helmets. by artists at the beginning of the twentieth century facilitated an explosion of interest in the abstraction. sculpture and architecture. by integrating textured murals and large bas-reliefs in walls. African masks often represent a spirit and it is strongly believed that the spirit of the ancestors possesses the wearer.African art 5 Influence on Western art Westerners had long misunderstood African art as "primitive. the status of visual art was changed. Influence on Western architecture European architecture was strongly influenced by African Art. . African Art influenced Brutalism. and during this state of mind he "communicates" with his ancestors. During the 50's. Pier Luigi Nervi. During the 60's. are one of the most commonly found forms of art in western Africa. animal hair. initiations. African Art demonstrated the power of supremely well organised forms. particularly in the late Le Corbusier. pigments (like kaolin). Matisse. Boldly patterned mudcloth is another well known technique. Le Corbusier. These artists saw in African Art a formal perfection and sophistication unified with phenomenal expressive power. the faculty of imagination. Among the most complex of African textiles is the colorful. Oscar Niemeyer and Paul Rudolph. usually of wood or ivory. stones. Theo Van Doesburg and Erich Mendelsohn were also sculptures and painters. painting.

. Zerihun Yetmgeta. Lubaina Himid. Walter Battiss and through galleries like the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. This period was critical to the evolution of Western modernism in visual arts. cars or animals of West African cities. Art bienniales are held in Dakar. Karel Nel. symbolized by Picasso's breakthrough painting "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. William Kentridge.[17] Artur Walther[18] and Gianni artist Gideon Chidongo. many contemporary African artists tend to have difficult times finding a market for their work. A number of vigorous popular traditions assimilate Western influences into African styles such as the elaborate fantasy coffins in shapes such as airplanes. 4th quarter of 20th Baiocchi in Rome have helped expand the interest in the subject. Notable modern artists include El Anatsui. Senegal. century. Marlene Dumas. The appointment of Nigerian Okwui Enwezor as artistic director of Documenta 11 and his African centred vision of art propelled the careers of countless African artists onto the international stage. More recently European galleries like the October Gallery in London and Wood sculpture attributed to Zimbabwean collectors such as Jean Pigozzi. and Bili Bidjocka. Yinka Shonibare. due to scholars' and art collectors' emphasis on traditional art. Odhiambo Siangla. Kendell Geers. and their art may sell for high prices at art auctions. Many contemporary African arts borrow heavily from traditional predecessors."[16] Contemporary African art was pioneered in the 1950s and 1960s in South Africa by artists like Irma Stern. Henry Tayali. have gone a long way to countering many of the myths and prejudices that haunt Contemporary African Art. which showcased the Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art. Cyril Fradan. this emphasis on abstraction is seen by Westerners as an imitation of European and American cubist and totemic artists. South Africa. who. Amedeo Modigliani and Henri Matisse. Numerous exhibitions at the Museum for African Art in New York and the African Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. including so-called "airport art". were heavily influenced by traditional African art. such as Pablo Picasso. A wide range of more-or-less traditional forms of art. This has been sadly understudied until recently. or adaptations of traditional style to contemporary taste are made for sale to tourists and others. and the banners of clubs. Many contemporary African artists are represented in museum collections. and Johannesburg.African art 6 Contemporary African art Africa is home to a thriving contemporary art fine art culture. Ironically. in the early twentieth century. Olu Oguibe. Despite this.

and a head with two large horns. Until quite recently. associated with the Komo society. has a spherical head with two antelope horns on the top and an enlarged. they all display a highly abstract body. religious beliefs and display of tribal customs. Other statues were created for people such as hunters and farmers so other tribe members could leave offerings after long farming seasons or group hunts. The second type of mask. The stylistic variations in Bambara art are extreme sculptures. Artwork focuses significantly on the genital area. used by the N'tomo society. The first type. masks and TjiWara headdresses belonging to the so-called 'Segou style' were identified. Bambara The Bambara people (Bambara: Bamanankaw) adapted many artistic traditions and began to create display pieces. Female (left) and male Vertical styles have revealed that certain types of figures and headdresses were associated with a number of the societies that structure Bambara life. the function of Bambara pieces was shrouded in Two Bambara Chiwara c. often incorporating a zig-zag motif. Art Institute of mystery. During these ceremonies. masks and headdresses display either stylized or realistic features. they cannot be linked to specific societies or ceremonies. The style is distinct and recognizable by its typical flat faces. but some have a thick encrusted patina acquired during other ceremonies in which libations are poured over them. which represents the sun's course from east to west.African art 7 By country or people Mali The art of Mali is somewhat more abstract than that of Kenya. Although they are all different. on the figures. Bambara carvers have established a reputation for the zoomorphic headdresses worn by Tji-Wara society members]. splayed hands. Bambara members of the Tji-Wara society wear the headdress while dancing in their fields at sowing time. but in the last twenty years field studies Chicago. Masks There are three major and one minor type of Bambara mask. The third type has connections with the Nama society and is carved in the form of an articulated bird's head. while the fourth. measuring from 80 to 130 cm in height. but unlike those described above. and either weathered or encrusted patinas. Before money was the main drive of creation of their artworks these tribes used their abilities solely as a sacred craft for display of spiritual pride. Other Bambara masks are known to exist. which is culturally. minor type. late 19th early 20th centuries. During the 1970s a group of approximately twenty figures. Statuettes Bambara statuettes are primarily used during the annual ceremonies of the Guan society. has a typical comb-like structure above the face. all-over body triangular scarifications and. are removed from their sanctuaries by the elder . a group of up to seven figures. flattened mouth. is worn during dances and may be covered with cowrie shells. whereby the male and female forms are artistically compared through an abstract perception. the dominant sex in Mali. hoping to increase the crop yield. They are used during dances. Example artworks include the Bamana n’tomo mask. The penis is also a symbolisation and celebration of the male figure. arrow-shaped noses. represents a stylized animal head and is used by the Kore society.

who usually appears holding a knife. The importance of secrecy is due to the symbolic meaning behind the pieces and the process by which they are made. Their art deals with the myths whose complex ensemble regulates the life of the 8 12th Century Yoruba (Ife) bronze casting of a King . These statues represent a highly stylized animal or human figure. Boh sculptures are perhaps the best known. These figures . 24). numerous fakes from Bamako which were based on these sculptures entered the market. Influence from Tellem art is evident in Dogon art because of its rectilinear designs (Laude. stools with caryatids. although common stylistic characteristics – such as a tendency towards stylization – are apparent on the statues. aproned figures.and a male figure called Guantigui. Dogon Dogon art is primarily sculpture. Each special creative trait a person obtained was seen as a different way to please higher spirits. figures bending from the waist. Dogon art is extremely versatile. and are commonly hidden from the public eye within the houses of families. women grinding pearl millet. The two figures were surrounded by Guannyeni attendant figures standing or seated in various positions. 46-52).African art members of the society. musicians. They were produced in Bamako. often adorned with a talisman. mirror-images. donkeys bearing cups. holding a vessel. Signs of other contacts and origins are evident in Dogon art. These female or hermaphrodite figures usually appear with geometric features such as large conical breasts and measure between 40 and 85 cm in height. or their breasts. They were employed by the Kono and the Komo societies and served as receptacles for spiritual forces. Themes found throughout Dogon sculpture consist of figures with raised arms. and are made of wood which is repeatedly covered in thick layers of earth impregnated with sacrificial materials such as millet. and freedoms (Laude. Other Bambara figures. women bearing vessels on their heads. Among the corpus of Bambara figures. quadruped-shaped troughs or benches. are thought to be associated with either the southern Dyo society or the Kwore society. 19). Dogon sculptures are not made to be seen publicly. Dogon art revolves around religious values. The Dogon people were not the first inhabitants of the cliffs of Bandiagara. 20). During the 1970s. superimposed bearded figures. The sculptures are washed. dogs. kola nuts and alcoholic drinks. and could in turn be used for apotropaic purposes.usually display a typical crested coiffure. women with children. Two of these figures were ascribed great significance: a seated or standing maternity figure called Guandousou known in the West as 'Bambara Queen' . horsemen.some of which date from between the 14th and 16th centuries . called Dyonyeni. figures covering their faces. and standing figures (Laude. chicken or goat blood. ideals. or kept with the Hogon (Laude. The blacksmith members of the Dyo society used them during dances to celebrate the end of their initiation ceremonies. They were handled. re-oiled and sacrifices are offered to them at their shrines. or a musical instrument. held by dancers and placed in the middle of the ceremonial circle. sanctuaries.

There are nearly eighty styles of masks.African art individual. They serve to transmit an understanding to the initiated. tapered extremities. 9 . conic shapes. Another large group has triangular. types of masks involved. The Dogon continue an ancient masquerading tradition. The performance of masqueraders – sometimes as many as 400 – at these ceremonies is considered absolutely necessary. such as dogs and ostriches. door locks. reducing it to its essentials. one could say that they render the human body in a simplified way. As a general characterization of Dogon statues. Carved animal figures. pointed breasts. hairdos stylized by three or four incised lines. death came into the world as a result of primeval man’s transgressions against the divine order. and granary doors. which commemorates the origin of death. featuring raised arms and a thick patina made of blood and millet beer. Some are extremely elongated with emphasis on geometric forms. and thighs on a parallel plane. the mythical ancestors born of the god Amma. The seated female figures. are placed on village foundation altars to commemorate sacrificed animals. after the ceremonies they were left on the ground and quickly deteriorated because of termites and other conditions. ornament stools. The subjective impression is one of immobility with a mysterious sense of a solemn gravity and serene majesty. forearms. squared shoulders. the timing. incarnating the first ancestor who died in childbirth. The Dogon style has evolved into a kind of cubism: ovoid head. but on many the color is lost. altars to protect hunters. In the case of the dama. and are the object of offerings of food and sacrifices by women who are expecting a child. and other ritual elements are often specific to one or two villages and may not resemble those seen in locations only several miles distant. Dogon sculptures serve as a physical medium in initiations and as an explanation of the world. Dama memorial ceremonies are held to accompany the dead into the ancestral realm and restore order to the universe. but their basic characteristic is great boldness in the use of geometric shapes. According to their myths. although conveying at the same time a latent movement. Dogon masks evoke the form of animals associated with their mythology. Kneeling statues of protective spirits are placed at the head of the dead to absorb their spiritual strength and to be their intermediaries with the world of the dead. All masks have large geometric eyes and stylized features. are linked to the fertility cult. personal or family altars. independent of the various animals they are supposed to represent. pillars or men’s meeting houses. the base of which depicts the earth while the upper surface represents the sky. who will decipher the statue according to the level of their knowledge. The masks are often polychrome. The primordial couple is represented sitting on a stool. their hands on their abdomen. in market. according to myth. Horsemen are remainders of the fact that. into which they accompany the deceased before once again being placed on the shrines of the ancestors. while granary doors. The four Nommo couples. stools and house posts are also adorned with figures and symbols. The sculptures are preserved in innumerable sites of worship. Dogon sculpture recreates the hermaphroditic silhouettes of the Tellem. altars for rain. The structure of a large number of masks is based on the interplay of vertical and horizontal lines and shapes. The masks also appear during baga-bundo rites performed by small numbers of masqueraders before the burial of a male Dogon. the two are interconnected by the Nommo. yet their significance is only understood by the highest ranking cult members whose role is to explain the meaning of each mask to a captivated audience. the horse was the first animal present on earth.

Painters emerged in the 1950s after training in Makerere University College. and soapstone carvings from Western Kenya. silver and gold jewelry. Unlike most contemporary Kenyan artist they paint using oils. musical instruments. Others include the late Dr. carvings. Macua Ngethe. elephant hair bracelets. Botswana In the northern part of Botswana. The faces are painted white with black features. they include such artists as Elimo Njau Elizabeth Karuga. The art items in Kenya include sisal baskets. prints and sculptures. Stephen Mayienga and others. and Moses Gichuiri. both animal and human figures were made by the Khoisan (Kung San!/Bushmen dating before civilization over 20. As for material. boxes to hold the remains of ancestors. The initial paintings by Bulinya Martins were a combination of cubism and original African abstractions. and sculptures. Fang art is characterized by organized clarity and distinct lines and shapes. acrylics and watercolors and/or combination. Myene art centers around Myene rituals for death. Kenya offers African jewelry containing cowry shells. The baskets are generally woven into three types: large. The 1970s saw the self-taught African painters mostly inspired by the demand for original African paintings. Female ancestors are represented by white painted masks worn by the male relatives. The late Mainga’s abstractions were 2D and highly embellished on leather. tribal women in the villages of Etsha and Gumare are noted for their skill at crafting baskets from Mokola Palm and local dyes. From the University of Nairobi School of Fine Art and Design came the following artists: Bulinya Martins and Sarah Shiundu. A modern fantasy coffin in the shape of a red Sylvester Maina. The oldest evidence ancient paintings from both Botswana and South Africa. with batik cloth. Depictions of hunting. Gabon The Fang people make masks and basketry. tribal masks. soapstone sculptures. Rix Butama. The artistry of these baskets is being steadily enhanced through color use and improved designs as they are increasingly produced for commercial use. These art items are available in the arts and craft markets and shops throughout the main tourist centers of Kenya. Oil paint is by far the preferred medium today and it lasts much longer. Maasai figurines. Cloth in Kenya also represents interesting art. Shake Makelele. and unlike in other African countries. use of color and execution. open baskets for carrying objects on the head or for winnowing threshed grain. They use baskets to hold ancestral remains. These include the Ancient Soi. Among these include John Dianga and Moses Gichuiri. and smaller plates for winnowing pounded grain. The ‘80s was the rooster (cock). . lidded baskets used for storage large. Pure abstract art is rare in Kenya. Ghana produced many contemporary artists. Masks are worn in ceremonies and for hunting. carved by the Gusii and Abagusii ethnic groups in Kisii stone. are carved with protective figures. Most artists paint semi-abstract with distorted human figures. the use of Acrylics and oil is more frequent than watercolors. Maasai bead jewelry. wooden carvings. The Bekota use brass and copper to cover their carvings. From Teachers Training colleges came Stephen Mbatia. paintings. Tourism is rare in Gabon. and Meube to name but a few.African art 10 Kenya Kenyan art has changed much in the post colonial years. The two by virtue of having learned many basic techniques in design are highly innovative both in style. Kenyatta University also produced artists but more so taught in western art styles of painting. art is not spurred on by commerce. Bieri. kangas (women's wraparound skirts) with patterns and even Kenyan proverbs printed on them and kikois (type of sarong for men) that come in many different colors and textiles.000 years old within the Kalahari desert.

Gilbert G. the "official" art of Ancient Egypt was centred on the state religion of the time. to wall art that depicted both history and mythology. and wearing these masks is thought to transform the wearer into the entity the mask represents. Bodily proportions also appear to be mathematically derived. figures and masks. mixed materials: tusche and wax crayon Tanzania Tinga Tinga art has roots in decorating hut walls in central and south Tanzania.African art 11 Côte d'Ivoire The Baoulé. Groud. The art ranged from stone carvings of both massive statues and small statuettes. and their statuary that can be found being sold in tourist markets and in museums alike. Côte d'Ivoire also has modern painters and illustrators. with figures poised upright and rigid in a most regal fashion. The Makonde are known as master carvers throughout East Africa.500 years during the reign of Rameses II. "Childsoldier in the Ivory Coast". The Côte d'Ivorian peoples use masks to represent animals in caricature to depict deities. 2007. Egypt Persisting for 3. the Senoufo and the Dan peoples are skilled at carving wood and each culture produces wooden masks in wide variety. In 2600 BC the maturity of Egyptian carving reached a peak it did not reach again for another 1. in his illustrated book Magie Noire. It was first in 1968 when Edward Said Tingatinga started to paint on wooden sheets with enamel colours when Tinga Tinga art became known. This most likely was used to reinforce the godliness of the ruling caste. mostly spirits (Shetani) that play a special role. Since the 1950s years the socalled Modern Makonde Art has been developed. An outstanding position is taken by George Lilanga. or to represent the souls of the departed. Gilbert G. A lot of the art possesses a certain stiffness. These ceremonial masks are each thought to have a soul. it is considered a taboo for anyone other than specially trained persons or chosen ones to wear or possess certain masks. Groud criticizes the ancient beliefs in black magic. or life force. giving rise to a sense of fantastic perfection in the figures depicted. Makonde are also part of the important contemporary artists of Africa today. As the masks are held to be of great spiritual power. The art of the Makonde must be subdivided into different areas. as held with the spiritual masks mentioned above. . An essential step was the turning to abstract figures.000 years and thirty dynasties. They traditionally carve household Modern Makonde carving in ebony objects.

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