Understanding Traditional African Art

Traditional African Art

The histories and concepts of African Art are as varied as the cultures, communities, and customs that prevail in the continent. Right from the cave paintings of South Africa’s Cederberg Mountains to the abstract masks of several regions, African art is simply extraordinary and incorporates many different objects, themes, materials, and media.

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Beginning of the African Art Era

Africa is well-known as the home of many art styles. Amongst the first African art is the paintings made on rocks, as well as the interior walls and the ceilings of the caves. The paintings found in the Apollo 11 Cave in Namibia are expected to be from 23,000 BCE. It depicted human and animal figures.

African Pottery

While no one can exactly understand the purpose of these paintings, one thing is clear artists of that era were great at portraying imaginary and figurative scenes. Also, there is always a chance that these drawings did have some significance to the cultures that prevailed back then, considering humans were hunters and did not stay in one place for long.

Overall, what is depicted in these paintings sheds light on life and cultures as well as provides information about what animals lived and served as food at the time. Furthermore, one fascinating fact about these paintings is that they even included several creatures that were a combination of humans and animals.

This depiction has made the world believe that there was certainly some spiritual aspect of these drawings, and probably they have been used in religious ceremonies and rituals. Also, these paintings give an idea of how life evolved in Africa over the decades.

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The Well-known African Sculptures

African sculptures have a special place amongst the different arts known to the World. Countless sculptures remind us how close was the relationship between art and spirituality throughout the history of mankind. Also, the fact that many centuries-old traditions have survived to date in certain African cultures, is simply amazing.

African Sculptures

African Pottery Art

Amongst all the other forms of art known in Africa, pottery is one of the most important ones. Vessels like jugs and pots were usually created with the motive of domestic use in mind. However, the visual beauty and detailing were given due importance.

Generally, pottery is made by women in Africa. They use raw materials which were easily available in the surrounding environment, for instance, clay found in the African grounds. Now, this clay is not like the one you buy from a ceramic clay store. African clay contains a lot of unwanted materials like rocks and twigs and needs thorough processing and cleaning before it could be used.

Today, Africans can boast of their variety of interesting artistic approaches and traditions. However, the artists here still need proper recognition and a platform to show their art to the world.