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The study of African art began in the early twentieth century, and for much of its development focused solely on the area south of the Sahara and on art forms rooted in precolonial culture, which was seen as static and timeless. Egypt and northern Africa were seen as separate entities.
The colonial and postcolonial eras were viewed as periods of decline in African art, due to what were seen as negative outside influences in materials, techniques, subject matter, style, and patronage. In contrast, recent scholarship takes a more inclusive and historically dynamic view.
The continent is treated as an integrated whole and the changes of the past century are seen as continuing the evolution that African art has experienced throughout its history.
Research today focuses on the artistic interconnections between geographic regions, ethnic groups, and time periods, and contemporary art is given equal footing with so-called traditional forms.
Ancient African Art The earliest known works of art from Africa are the paintings of animals found on rocks in the Apollo 11 cave in southern Namibia so-named because they were discovered in July when the spacecraft landed on African art research paper moon. These have been dated 26,—24, BCE, making them as old or older than the Paleolithic cave paintings of western Europe.
Rock paintings and engravings are also found in East Africa and North Africa, particularly in what is now the Sahara; these depictions of animals and humans document the change from the lush, well-watered grasslands of around BCE to the arid conditions we know today.
As the Sahara became drier, its human inhabitants were forced to move, and many of them settled in the Nile Valley, where they contributed to the development of ancient Egyptian and Nubian culture and art.
Despite their early date, the Nok sculptures already show visual elements characteristic of African art from later periods. They depict facial features and body parts as abstract geometric shapes, and they alter the natural proportions of the body to emphasize the head.
They portray the elaborate hairstyles and beaded body ornaments that are also an important part of the dress of many later African peoples.
During the first millennium CE the cultural features that characterized sub-Saharan African societies until the late nineteenth century were established, such as states based on sacred kingship, long-distance trade, urbanism especially in west Africaand various forms of social and religious organization.
All of these contributed to the evolution of African visual arts. Sophisticated and expressive terracotta sculptures were produced there, primarily between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. Some depict figures with the trappings of leadership, others are possibly in positions of prayer, and still others appears tormented by diseases or snakes.
Little is known about the function of these figures, since the majority of them have been illicitly excavated. Archaeologists believe they were used in domestic rituals, perhaps to ensure the solid foundation of a house and the family within it. Jenne-Jeno was part of a vast trading network that stretched north across the Sahara and south to the forests along the coast of West Africa.
There, the site of Igbo-Ukwu in southeastern Nigeria produced lavishly decorated bronze objects using an indigenously developed lostwax technique.
The technique involves coating a wax model in plaster and clay, leaving a small hole in the bottom; when the model is heated, the clay and plaster harden, and the wax melts i.The free Arts research paper (African Art essay) presented on this page should not be viewed as a sample of our on-line writing service.
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Excerpt from Research Paper: African-American Art The art of African-Americans became a powerful medium for social and self-expression. Visual arts including sculpture carried with it political implications related to colonialism, oppression, and initiativeblog.com with other forms of creative expression, African-American visual arts particularly .
Professionally written papers on this topic: Smithsonian Museum of African Art A 3 page research paper that offers an overview of the National Museum of African Aft (NMAFA), the setup of the website and its description of the collecti.
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