Art and imperial power. Art Flashcards. Europeans in Africa. Interrelationship between Europeans and Africans and the impact of the relationship on artistic production. (15 th -16 th centuries)
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Art and imperial power
A period of intense and aggressive colonization of African states by European powers began in the 1880’s
Decolonization and Post Colonial Art
Artists responded to the situation in a variety of ways…..
Some abandoned reference to traditional ways and materials indigenous to the land.
Some adapted their forms as they incorporated newly available materials.
Can be seen as a sort of “Tourist Art” collected by
Portuguese travelers to bring back to the wealthy
Clients who financed their voyages.
Hybrid between cultures because…..
Ivory carvers from Africa used imagery from
Both Africa and Europe to make these more
Enticing to the European market.
A status piece displayed in homes of the wealthy
to show wealth and power of the family.
Dogs and snakes are represented in high relief,
both are considered to have strong connections to the spiritual world in African Culture.
16th century ivory 'saltcellar’
Sapi-Portuguese Refers to
The African region of Sapi
As it was discovered by and
Influenced by the early
Portoguese Slave traders.
The Portuguese found skilled artists
Working in the Benin Kingdom along
The western coast of Africa.
Portuguese people referred to the Kingdom
As the Beny Kingdom.
Copper and Brass were important to the
People of Benin and most of the artwork
From the region was made of cast metal.
In 1897 the British attacked Benin and
Conquered the very powerful region.
Benin had taken over many neighboring
Regions prior to the British takeover.
After the British takeover many of the
Art pieces were sold to British Museums
Many of the works of art were created
For use in rituals and for display on
This plaque is a depiction of important
Benin leaders and fighters.
The scale and relief of each figure conveys a message of rank.
The largest figure being most important.
The very ornate regalia is also a sign
of wealth and power.
It is still argued that some of these pieces should be returned to the native land from British Museums.
Location: Coastal Area of Ghana
The Fante region
Each group in the Fante region has it’s own organized military. Flags were used to specify between groups.
Flags were used to intimidate neighboring enemy groups.
This Flag, significant for it’s
Hi“Story” It is a good example of the interaction between British and West African cultural groups.
As sa- WAR Fo – People Highly organized Military Groups in the region.
Batik in Africa
Under French Rule prior to British
Guro People not ruled by Kings, instead
Overseen by a group of elders.
Not an aggressive group of people, mostly
focused on agricultural production.
Masks created for spiritual rituals and
Performances for entertainment..
Most masks are carved from wood and
The lower portion is traditional in construction and imagery.
The upper portion uses materials acquired during European trade.
The upper portion also depicts contemporary imagery only seen post colonization by means of imported
Face Mask Guro People
Mid 20th Century
Fading Cloth 2005
Created by El Anatsui
WHAT IT MEANT TO BE AFRICAN
In a post colonial Society
Began to emerge as a major artist
In the 1970’s
Made of Flattened Bottle caps and
Scraps of metal
Meant to be hung with folds to
Accentuate texture and luminosity.
Traditional Weaving techniques
Juxtaposed with modern materials
Found in West Africa Post colonial
Southern China 18th Century
A combination of Chinese
Expertise (The use of Porcelain) with European design and Imagery.
Viewed as being exotic yet still demanded some familiar European imagery.
One of a set of fifty plates
LeakeOkeover and his wife Mary Nichol. Aristocrats from England
Design is a family code of arms.
Company Painting (Kampani)
A group of artists painting imagery that
Reflects a typical sight in India, yet painted
In a style that Europeans were looking for.
Eiteenth and Ninteenth Century equivelent
To tourist art”
A collection of Knowledge and carful
Possession of a painting of particular place is
ones way of asserting control over that
Place as in the colonization of a country.
Common Indian Nightjar
India 18th Century
By John Singleton Coplay, 1768
Highly respected portrait painter
Painted PRIOR to his famous
The painting was created to
celebrate Reveres talent
And work as a metal smith artist.
Here he holds a teapot
The imagery is significant in that
It refers to the tea trade and the
wearisome relationship between
Britain and the colonies .
Possible political undertones
British Architect Frederick William Stevens, 1887 d
Mumbai India, Formerly Bombay
Main Railway station in Mumbai, named to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Completed in 1888.
Combination of European and Traditional Indian Architecture.
Statue at top or the crown is a symbol of Progress, to represent colonial rule.
The entrance is flanked by symbols of European and Indian Power.
Royal Exhibition building Joseph Reed, 1880
St. George’s Cathedral Northern Coast of South America Arthur Blomfield, 1894 Guyana’s Capital city, Georgetown
A romantic idea or vision of what the native peoples were like in the exotic colonized lands.
The painting suggests a harmonious relationship between The people of Tahiti and
The British. There is no interaction between the people themselves but the
Composition suggests a calm and peaceful scene.
The native boats and people are in the foreground of the painting creating
A linear perspective, leading the
Viewers eye to the British boats
Calmly nestled in the background.
(V formation “framing” the British
An atmospheric perspective is used
To create a crispness in the foreground
Contrasting the slightly out of focus
Background in the mountains.
The landscape was partially invented
Manipulated by the artist to create
An exotic feel. The volcanic mountains
Of Tahiti could not be seen from any
Coastline in reality.
The painting is Romantic and idealized to portray a colonization as in a positive light.
Reference to Madonna and Child…a Classical reference in European artistic training,
Can be seen with the woman and her baby in the foreground. The woman is shirtless
Depicting an exotic and Native style on the old classic.(hybrid)
Slave Ship Turner, 1840
Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the six marks
James Abbott McNeill Whistler,
Focus of the painting is on Chinese imports created exclusively for European
market. Whistler was a collector
of Chinese Wares. The ones seen here are of his private collection.
North American Born
traditionally schooled in Europe.
Not a fan of “history Painting”
Whistler was more of an impressionist. Creating mood with light and color.
Lady Receiving Visitors The Reception
John Frederick Lewis, 1873
Attention to detail about the relationship between the lady of the house and her many servants.
Gazelle was a popular animal in Egypt
representing female beauty
“Lady Receiving Visitors” Lewis, 1873
“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”
Large ScalePhotograph fashioned
after Goya’s Etching from 1799
Almost an exact replica with emphasis
On the clothing.
The clothes are influenced by popular
Dutch Wax cloth prints created by
England specifically marketed for Africa.
1799 meets 2008 with political
Commentary and criticism.
The text on the desk is in French
“Do the dreams of reason produce monsters”
Suggesting that the imposition of the
Enlightenment ideals during colonization
may in fact create a few demons--such as
dictators "democratically" voted into power.
“The sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”
The artist's critique of his period's
political and social vices.
Another example of Shonibars work….focus is on the Dutch Wax Cloth