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Embed code for: African Art2007
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African Art * The African Tribal Artist The artist holds a respected position in African tribal society. It is his job to provide the various masks and sculptures for use in social and religious ceremonies. His training, which may last many years, involves the knowledge of traditional carving techniques and how these apply to the social and religious objects he creates. He can learn his craft as an apprentice in the workshop of a master carver. Sometimes these skills are passed down from father to son through many generations of his family. When artists and collectors in the West first took an interest in African Art, they did not understand its social and spiritual purpose. Distinct regional styles were not recognised. African art was viewed as a curious genre with a strong visual impact. However, as our knowledge of stylistic differences developed, we have learned to identify, not only the work of individual artists, but also to distinguish between the hand of the master and an apprentice's copy from the same workshop. The African Mask In the early 20th Century, artists like Pablo Picasso and Andre Derain were inspired by the bold abstract designs in African tribal masks. They collected and used these works of art to influence their own style. African masks are part of a ceremonial costume. They are used in religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. Some masks combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment. This bond with nature is of great importance to the African and through the ages masks have always been used to express this relationship. Bold patterns, either painted or carved, are a powerful expressive element in African mask design and most patterns tend to be geometrical and symmetrical. Pattern is often used as a form of coded information. Parallel, zigzag, cruciform, curved and spiral lines, representing scarification marks or tattoos, are frequently used to adorn the planes of the mask face. These can denote social status or have magical or religious powers. Square and triangular checkerboard grids are often carved to decorate a section of the design. Different geometric patterns are sometimes used to distinguish between male and female masks. ‘bold design and abstract patterns’ Ndebele Art ‘geometric shapes’ ‘bold design and abstract patterns’ ‘geometric patterns’ ‘symmetrical’ ‘square and triangular checkerboard’ * * *