African Art: New Genres and Transformational Philosophies
This chapter explores the new genres of African art and discusses some of the philosophies that nurture them. The corpus of traditional African art entails ubiquitous items, such as masks, religious icons, figurines, house posts, pottery, textiles, carved doors, jewelry, and body art, most of which were produced for religious purposes. The royal institutions and traditional religions that sustained the production of precolonial African art came under attack with the strengthening of foreign religions like Christianity and Islam around the later part of the fourteenth century. Postcolonial African art may be grouped into three major categories: traditional, urban, and international. Urban art evolved in Africa with the development of metropolitan communities in the colonial and postcolonial periods. Apart from the influence of Western-styled education, the introduction of "modernism" as a way of life in Africa has had a profound impact on the careers of international artists.