Modern African Artists Their Struggle for Tradition and Self

How does an artist work out of and from a tradition that has colonized
his or her people’By colonizing one’s people, one also colonizes the art
of one’s people.Indeed, through the act of colonization itself, a nation
such as Britain has deemed an African’s very self hood, very person not to
be part of the artistic production of tradition, but merely an object of
exploitation.African artists almost as a whole must grapple with the fact
that their nation has been oppressed and colonized by Western forces, yet
many of these artists also wish to draw upon the rich artistic resources of
Moreover, these African artists do not wish to merely recopy and
recapitulate old, African forms of art, nor could they, anymore than they
could recopy and recapitulate aspects of African tribal art within their
own social experience.Such African artists currently live in a world of
modern commerce that valorizes the individual artistic experience, as
opposed to the communal and tribal tradition that produced most traditional
works of African art.They must appropriate both the West and their
African pasts anew, to create works that are creative in their syncretism,
and representative of both traditionsâ€"not an easy task.
African artists cannot entirely embrace the West, nor can they
entirely reject it if they wish to move forward in their own nation’s art,
in their own self-expression as an artist in and individualistic and
Western-influenced world, and also to profit personally as all artists must
on some level.Rather than attempt to reconfigure their own traditions,
many African artists have approached Western art and culture in a spirit of
parody and satire, familiar tools of the oppressed to communicate their
displeasure with humor.Also, African artists whom are betwixt and between
cultures, located both in colonial nations and in cultural communities that


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