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African Art

Different art genres have different themes that distinguish them from other genres. This is because these themes often reflect the culture of the place where the art genre originated. They represent things that are significant to that culture. One example of such a genre is the artwork you can find in the Vatican, where the themes are mostly religious. Another example is the African art genre, where the themes are distinctly African. There are four very common themes in African art that show African culture. These include a couple, a woman and child, a male with a weapon or an animal, and an outsider or "stranger."

A couple

A common theme in African art is couples, which are believed to represent ancestors or founders of the community. Most of the art of this theme were shrines and sculptures for ceremonies. This theme represents the importance placed on the two as one. Couples also signify strength and honor.

Mother and Child

The mother and child are also a common theme in African art. They represent mother earth and the people as her children. Apart from this, this theme also reflects the value that the African people place on motherhood and the relationship between mothers and their children.

Male with a weapon or animal

This theme is usually used to show honor for departed ancestors since the sculpting of animals is done to signify the status of the person. Africans place a premium on animal ownership since this signifies honor, power, and wealth.


In African culture, a stranger is someone who may belong to a different country or tribe, or one who is generally considered unwelcome. Usually, the artwork that depict these strangers exaggerates physical differences, emphasizing the gap that between the stranger and the tribe.

It has been said that one of the best ways to understand a culture is to look at the artwork that comes from it. This is true with African art because the themes that African art depict do not only show the creativity of African artists but also the traditions and values that they consider to be an important part of their culture.

About the author:
African Art provides detailed information on African Art, African Tribal Art, African Wildlife Art, African American Art and more. African Art is affiliated with Abstract Art Paintings.

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