CONTENT: What do you see?
FORM: The details (what you see more exactly). How the artist delivers the content.
CONTEXT: Everything NOT observable.
FUNCTION: The intended purpose of the work.
APAH 250 Images:
Objects used in public rituals:
175. Bundu mask
173. Female (Pwo) mask
178. Aka elephant mask
174. Portrait mask (Mblo)
Objects of Power and Authority:
169. Wall plaque from Oba's palace
-contextual photo of Oba of Benin
171. Ndop (portrait of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul)
180. Veranda post of enthroned king and senior wife
170. Sika dwa kofi (Golden stool)
Object of Memory:
177. Lukasa (memory board)
Objects connecting religious belief:
172. Power figure (Nkisi n'kondi)
179. Reliquary figure (byeri)
176. Ikenga (shrine figure)
Architecture of power and authority:
167. Conical tower and circular wall of Great Zimbabwe
Sika Dwa Kofi
Human life began in Africa, developed over millions of years, and radiated beyond the continent. The earliest African art dates to 77,000 years ago. Human beliefs and interactions are instigated by African art. The arts are active, motivate behavior, contain and express belief, validate social organization and human relations. African arts are meant to be performed rather than viewed. Africa’s interaction with the rest of the world led to intellectual and artistic traditions that sustain hundreds of cultures.
- African art is a combination of objects, acts, and events, created in a variety of media (vocal, aural, visual) and materials (wood, ivory, metals, ceramic, fiber, elements of nature) carved, cast, forged, modeled, woven by specialists for knowledgable patrons
- African art reveals belief systems, a world that is known but not necessarily seen, predictable, or available to everyone. African art is expressive rather than representational, concerned with ideas rather than the objects of the natural/physical world. Art is created for both daily use and ritual purposes. Art is sung, danced, and presented in holistic experiences for designated audiences. It is created for specific reasons to produce specific results.
- Artistic expression connects daily practices to beliefs, systems of power and authority, social networks linking people to families, communities, shared ancestors. African arts mark status, identity, and cycles of human experience delineated by aesthetic choices and artistic expression. Leader’s histories and accomplishments are entrusted to historians/elders/bards.
- Outsiders have grouped African art that is similar in form as work that comes from the same place and was produced by a designated ethnic group. The name of the artist and date of the creation are rarely acknowledged by outsiders collecting the work.