Society and Religion in Early Africa Common cultural inheritance Basic languages Animist beliefs Oral traditions Reverence for elderly, ancestor worship Emphasis on family, community Evolution of powerful kingdoms
Three Early African Kingdoms:Ghana, Benin, Zimbabwe Ghana Caravan routes Increased wealth from exported goods Conquered by Berbers Benin (Nigeria) New food crops, metalworking techniques Ruled by an Oba Decline after massive slave deportation
Three Early African Kingdoms:Ghana, Benin, Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Stone Age settlements (bushmen) “Great Zimbabwe” complex The Shona Ancestral spirits as birds, eagles
20.5 The ancient walls and one of the conical towers showing the inner passage of the Great Enclosure at Great Zimbabwe, 15th century, Zimbabwe
Slavery and Colonialism • Transatlantic Slave Trade • Indentured servants • Connected to European colonization • Slave Narratives • Works Progress Administration • The Spiritual • Quilting
What do we mean by the term Colonialism? The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically Colonialism in Africa – a brief history Slave trade & European contact with Africa occurs between the 15th - 19th centuries, largely focused on coastal areas of Africa. In the nineteenth century as the slave trade was phased out, European governments sought to gain from the rich natural resources of Africa, and Christian missionaries arrived in force. “Scramble for Africa” By 1914 almost all of Africa was under colonial rule after a race to occupy by many European nations. Collecting African objects became of great interest to the incoming colonists as they realized, ironically, that their presence might endanger or eradicate many age-old customs and traditions through introduction of modern/Western technologies and diseases.
Slavery and Colonialism • Colonialism • Availability of raw materials • Portuguese • Belgium • France • United Kingdom • Aparteid • Alan Paton • Nelson Mandela
How African art influences European art and artists LEFT: Pablo Picasso, 'Head of a Woman', 1907 (oil on canvas)RIGHT: Dan Mask from West Africa
Bamana People, Mail, N. W. Africa, Chiwara (antelope headdress, 20th century, Wood
Comparison of the four major styles of The Chi Wara / Chiwara / Chi-Wara mask of the Bambara people of Mali. Left to right Abstract / Bougouni / Southern region style, Vertical/ Segu/ Northern region style, the Horizontal / Bamako / Northern region style, and the Abstract / Sikasso region style.
Animism From Latin anima "soul, life” - a set of beliefs based on the existence of non-human "spiritual beings" or similar kinds of embodied principles. Spirits embodied in the natural world Deep respect for nature and all living things Ancestral spirits Mediators = diviners, shamans and healers who use prayer, sacrifice, offering, ritual, or performance through (art) objects
Toguna (meeting center), Mali Dogon Culture
Traditional African Art in the Modern Period Transitions of Life, Rites of Passage Religious objects Maternity figures Performance Art of Dance Masks, headdresses, ceremonial dress Complexity of influences Western tendencies
Impact of Western Culture on Contemporary African Art Kente cloth Use of ephemera Music Cross rhythm Vocal harmony
African Literature Somalian oral traditions Raage Ugaas (18th century) Qamaan Bulxan (mid-19th century) Swahili-Arabic script Recording traditional, new songs Saiyid Abdallah (c. 1720-1810)
African Literature Negritude Leopold Senghor (1906-1989) Compromise with Neo-Colonialism? African Novelists Thomas Mofolo (ca. 1875-1948) Chinua Achebe (b. 1930)
Chapter Twenty: Discussion Questions Explain the effects of Western colonization on the peoples of Africa. What were the positive and negative ramifications of the introduction of Western ideologies and priorities? What are the arguments presented regarding the publication of literature in English versus in the native African languages? Which do you find to be the most compelling argument? Why? How is traditional African art different, both stylistically and philosophically, from art of the other geographic regions (particularly the West) and historical epochs? What is role of the artist and the aesthetic in African art? Explain.
Guided questions for the film “Hidden Treasure of African Art” BBC Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBmPota4tpU