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5 Essential Elements Used By African Artists

African Artists


In terms of aesthetics, African art has created its own space and is admired for its rich culture poised yet stimulating portrayal. The art itself has come a long way in its portrayal and display of the contexts, objectives, and socio-cultural roots. Conventionally, the branches of art got mired in stories and portrayals of the times and the beliefs emanating from those times. Evaluation of the quality of the art of any particular period depends on the stories it reveals. How it showcases different ideas, belief systems, and social statuses is also crucial. The advent of the digital era has given an exciting twist to it.

African art paintings have always been popular for displaying the interactions and relationships between different people and cultures and their impact on African lives. Cultural barriers were the leading cause of the underappreciation of this art. It also prevented people from seeing the real and deep meaning behind the art. This led to the criticism that African art was mostly primitive and didn’t evolve with time. Even today, if you ask people about African art, they can only point and picture colorful masks, sculptures, carvings, dolls, etc.

Thankfully, modern artists are using the art form and blending their modern approaches and creative flair to the traditional aspects to highlight African Art’s beauty. Essentially, there are five elements of African Artists.

1- Usage of Human Figures As Symbolic Representation of Ideas:

Traditionally, African art emphasized human figures to symbolize and portray situations. The human figure represents a person as an individual but not as a culture of a group of people. These art forms are too abstract and profound in their meanings. The art is not only aesthetically pleasing with a distinctive manner of appeal. 

Still, it is also an in-depth representation of the hardships, struggles, and sufferings of daily life. The depiction of these figures communicates a story centered around the core tenets of religious values. They also have opinions and observations on deep spiritual meanings of life.

2- Utilizing Elements of Luminosity To Showcase Shiny and Unflawed Skin:

Surface and luminosity also represented deep meanings about a person and their images or reputations in society. Shiny and luminous elements showcased pure, unadulterated, and unflawed skin. On the other hand, rough irregular surfaces would depict morally-corrupted and unfavorable or tarnished images. This is why African figures are always so artsy and deftly sculptured to showcase exquisitely crafted smooth finishes. 

This gave off an attractive appearance owing to the well-polished surfaces. These figures often adorn some jewelry, traditional African markings, or headdresses to magnify the characters’ aesthetic feel.

3- Demeanor As a Tool To Represent A Person In Control Of His Life:

African artists used every element with a specific intent and purpose. It was clear from all sorts of symbolic meanings. The sculpture and design of the art exude complete elegance and poise. Artists would more often than not intend the symbolism to mean self-respect and dignity. Thus it is a matter of pride if they could showcase grace through a look of composure and reserved poise. 

This look of composure and reticence means that these figures or people were in control of their lives. There was no room for displaying sentiment or emotions. But the artists wished to convey the same through these nuances.

4- Youthfulness As A Symbolic Representation of Strength, Vitality, and Fertility:

A lot of African artists utilized the art form and displayed their perceptions exceptionally creatively. These artistic pieces concentrate on bright and happy aspects. This was because the artists wanted to showcase an element of youthfulness and strength. 

Often these African Artists would create such figures or art forms that would depict visuals centered around the youth. The intention was to display that this youthfulness was a symbolic representation to symbolize energy, strength, vitality, fertility, activity, and vigor. They intended to create art that would come across as inspirational. The art form itself was to be without any traces of negativity and offer positivity in all respects.

5- Using Symmetrical Balance With Different Materials:

Symmetry and balance are some of the significant elements of African art. They focus on the story’s aesthetic values. The artist wanted to highlight this by invoking cultural, religious, and moral elements within the story’s portrayal. Usage of different kinds of materials can display these qualities easily.

In its long journey from the ancient past to the contemporary art form, all other elements have witnessed some modification and evolution except this. This was the only element that stayed the same and was more common amongst the artists.

Summing It Up:

It took a great deal of maturity of present-day artists and western concepts to realize African Artistry’s latent beauty. Today, notable artists conform to the belief that art, which once inspired Picasso, with its abstract form, is more than just conceptual drawings and carvings. Thankfully now, people are more receptive to this beautiful art form and are giving it its due.

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