As is obvious by its name,
any art having Africa as its place of birth is
Africa is a huge continent which is home to millions
and consequently, its art is diverse and cannot be
generalized with ease. It however shows what is seen
in most other walks of life – a unity in diversity.
It has some distinct characteristics which furnish
it with this unity and mark it as ‘African Art’.
Most objects produced by African artists have one
common purpose, that is, to be used. Very little
African Art is purely ornamental. Small objects like
comps, pots, textiles etc are artistically designed.
African society provides scope for innovation rather
than requiring its artists to conform to a
particular style of the area.
African artists are more inclined towards three
dimensional artworks than two dimensional ones, especially
sculpture. African house paintings, wrapped around a house
which a viewer must take in by walking around it exemplify
this inclination perfectly. More than one meaning can
generally be derived from an African work of art. The
aforementioned inclination of African artists to more real
feeling art leads them to emphasize greatly on performing
arts such as dances. Masks of Africa, often used in dances,
The earliest examples of African Art are 6000 year old
carvings preserved in the Sahara (Niger) in African rock
art. Legendary American artists like Modillian, Picasso and
Matisse were greatly inspired by African sculpture and
Zerihun Yetmgeta, Lubiana Himid, Odhiambo Siangle, Bill
Bidjocka and Olu Oguibe are some famous contemporary African
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