African art facts

African statues and sculptures

The art and culture that Africa holds within it is very diverse. When observed critically, it appears very profound. Though it may seem very traditional and primitive when looked at lightly, there is in fact much more to it. Africa hosts a unique variety of societies, art and culture. This uniqueness brings about various interesting facts about African culture and art. The themes and artistic touches behind paintings, statues and sculptures are highly interesting and under the observation of many critics.

History of African art facts

African art originates mainly from the culture that developed around the Sahara region. The art of a place reflects the culture of the people. African art is very rich. Its history can be traced back to 500 BC when the actual art form originated in parts of Nigeria. African art forms comprise mainly of sculptures and pottery. It also consists of masks and figures. African art forms are mostly made of wood, with ivory, beads and feathers used for decoration. Western and central Africa holds the richest art forms of the region. Sudan and Guiana are famous for carved wood art forms. One may also come across the terracotta architecture and art remains of Nigeria. Examples of these are the statuettes of the Nok culture era. The local tribes have contributed a lot to the art of Africa. The tribes of Cameroon are masters at wood carving and their artwork is highly expressive and bold. They also reflect a lot of traditions and rituals and are very interesting African artifacts.

African tribal arts and African art facts

One may find themes of a ‘stranger’ which is very common in African art. Also, one may find the expressions of masks. Masks were used in traditional ceremonies and thus leave behind many imprints on African art. The material used is mainly wood, but one may also observe the use of ivory, which was widely used by the Wagera tribe. They also used beads, shells and basketry to put up various decorations.

A deeper look into African art facts

The Nigeria region

For a long time, Nigeria has possessed a rich terracotta art. Most of the splendid figures and fragments are characterised by intricate facial details which reflect the quality of craftsmanship. The royal courts of Benin also exhibit some splendid art. These reflect high degrees of ceremonial art as well as the traditional nature of African artifacts.

The Congo region

The kingdoms of the Congo region hold African artifacts characterising Naturalism. These are mainly personified portraits. In the Bushongo region, one can observe carvings on the walls with faces of royalty.

Cameroon and Gabon

The African artifacts left behind by the small tribes of this region are very bold and vital in expression. Wood carvings are common and so are ritual objects and masks. Decorated motifs are also popular.

African museums are full of ancient arts and display the high levels of culture that the people had. The art forms were mainly based on human and animal subjects and one can observe a lot of diversity and intensity in African artifacts. These are well preserved in museums and other heritage sites and are open for tourist visits.