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Presentation on theme: "ART and AESTHETICS ACROSS CULTURES"— Presentation transcript:


2 People express themselves creatively in dance, music, song, painting, sculpture, etc.
Hunters and gatherers have been painting and carving for thousands of years. Only recently, since they have entered the Western ‘art world’, these people became involved in the production of art. Hunters and gatherers of the past were painting and carving, but they were not ‘producing art’.

3 Indeed, many native cultures are lacking the word for ‘art’ or ‘aesthetics’.
Perhaps because art in societies with relatively little specialisation, is often an integral part of religious, social and political life. But even without the word people associate with aesthetic experience – sense of beauty, harmony, pleasure.

4 What is art? Art – ‘the quality, production, expression, or realm of what is beautiful or of more than ordinary significance; the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria”. Evocative quality of art. But what is evocative in one culture, might be not evocative in the other. Art is more than an attempt by an individual to express or communicate feelings and ideas. There is also some cultural patterning or meaning.

5 Several qualities of art
It expresses as well as communicates It stimulates the sense, affects emotions, and evokes ideas. It is produced in culturally patterned ways and styles. It has cultural meaning. Some people are better at it than the others. But in many societies people who do art are not full-time specialists.

6 In the 19th century , art was one of the concepts used to exclude people from civilization and to distance them from European culture. However just as art could be used to distance ‘other’ people from civilised Europeans, it can be used as a rhetorical device to include them within a world culture.

7 Definition of art “Those things are considered to be art which are made by human beings in any visual medium, where production requires a relatively high level of skill on the part of their maker, skill being measured when possible according to the standards traditionally used in the maker’s society” (Anderson 1979:11) Art from Old French (ars) meaning skill.

8 What are some ideas about art in Western society?
Anything useful is not art. BUT: totem poles for practical use (to support the dwelling); beautifully embroidered boots or parkas are to keep people warm. To be considered art, a work must be unique. An artist should be original. BUT: in some societies the ability to replicate a traditional pattern is more valued than originality.

9 Visual art as social organisation
Materials that are used for artistic creations mirror natural and social environment Materials by no means determine what is done: sand in Japan and Australia Social stratification of a society

10 Stylistic features of art
Art as social fantasy: artistic response to those conditions in a society that brings security and pleasure. Elements of design are related to the presence of social hierarchy. Stylistic features of art

11 Repetition of a simple element in egalitarian societies.
Empty space represents relative isolation of a society Symmetry suggests likeness Lack of enclosed designs may indicate lack of idea of private property

12 Indigenous art and museums
How Western museums and art critics look at the visual art of native cultures? ‘By their things we shall know them’ remains one premise of representing indigenous art ‘Nameless’ ‘Timeless’ Primitive art Tourist art

13 Indigenous people should represent themselves, rather than be represented by others.
Anthropologists are no translators of culture.


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