African art reflects Africa’s rich cultural heritage, both traditional and modern. Here are ten ways cultural identity has influenced the development of African art into the African experience London.

Historical Connection

African art always tells a story about its predecessors. African art was one of the first forms of communication and was documented well before history. For example, the beads of Nassarius were used as ornaments for personal use nearly 72,000 years ago.

These beads were found in Blombos Cave, South Africa. They were made of Nassarius shells. This is a small species of sea snail that can be found in the Indian Ocean as well as the Mediterranean Sea. The surfaces were altered by humans using flint tools. These shells were believed to have been used by archaeologists as ornaments for the body, necklaces, and fish hooks.

In forming cultural identity, African tribal art is a historical repository.

Artists can use their art to identify with African culture and create contemporary artworks.

African Art: Materials

African artists employ a wide range of materials, including silver, gold and copper, as well as brass, ivory, clay, wood, clay, leather, textiles and beads.

Dealers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell and buy ivory due to changing attitudes and the ban on ivory. This is despite the fact there are no restrictions on trade in Africa’s cultural identity.

A connection to your roots is possible through cultural identity, especially art’s intentional creation and maintenance.

Africa is a continent that has vast mineral reserves, including bronze, gold and silver. African countries help their artisans design and create jewellery that includes elements to express their cultures.

Let’s take a look at Kente to understand this concept. Kente is a traditional handwoven fabric with silk and cotton textures. The material is often centred on Ghanaian culture. The Kente is a warp worn by men and women of the culture in a toga-like manner.

There are many differences between the genders in fabrics. Each colour has a unique meaning. Artists who identify with their Ghanaian roots can draw inspiration from Kente to create striking African tribal artwork that speaks to their emotions. An artist might use sisal or cotton to express Kente’s inspiration richly.

African Art: Cultural Practices

African culture uses a variety of expressions, including music, dance, food, and cuisine. Understanding the norms of a community is essential to identify with that culture. These practices foster a personal connection between community members. Cultural rules can also vary from one community to another.

For example, the Egyptian community’s traditional dances are quite different from those of the Zulu community. The Egyptian community dance dates back centuries and is depicted in many wall paintings.

Ancient Egyptians were very fond of dancing. But, Egyptian dancing was not dominated by the dancing of men and women.

To identify with their culture, an Egyptian artist may use these dances to create a masterpiece.

Human Figure Emphasis

In African art, the human figure has been an integral subject. This factor also influences European traditions. In an African context, the human figure may be a chef, dancer, drummer, or even hunter. Some tribes also use symbolism to symbolize a saviour or god within their community.

Recently, I was fascinated by the Dogon (or Kaador or Kamado), an African indigenous people from central Mali. It is located south of the Niger bend, near Bandiagara in Burkina Faso.

Dogon artists often create figurative sculptures that have raised arms. Religious ideals and liberties influence Dogon’s art. The public should not see Dogon sculptures. They are best kept at home, shrines, or with the Hogon (the village’s spiritual leader). The secret is essential because of the symbolism behind the pieces and how they were created.

The traditional Dogon religion includes information about extrasolar bodies of astronomy that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Sirius (Sigi Tolo, Sigui star) has two companion stars: the Digitaria star Po Tolo and the female Sorghum Star. This theory has led to the belief that extraterrestrial life visited Mali in the distant past and shared knowledge.

Artists make art representing a specific community by emphasizing the human figure in their particular or subject cultures. The cultural emphasis on the human body has an impact on African art.

African Art: Colour Symbolism

African art can be described as diverse in its style, delivery and inspiration. The majority of African art uses colour to communicate symbolism. Symbolism is a prominent feature of African tribal art, especially sculptures. The meaning of the colour palette used in the drawing is more important than the overall appearance.


Your soul is what the colour communicates. Red, for example, conveys energy, danger, urgency, and daring. This is why red can be used in contemporary African art to express certain emotions.

“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build dams.”

Young artists may want to express their African connection, but the art must be unique due to Western cultural influences. When an artist identifies with a particular African style, this has a significant impact on African art.