Masks and Masquerades in African Slavery Trades
The seventeenth century slaves of Africa and Europe became the focus of trade. Europes conquest and colonization of North and South America and the Caribbean Islands, from the fifteenth century onward, created an unsatisfied demand for African laborers, who were considered more fit to work in tropical conditions of the New World. The numbers of slaves imported across the Atlantic Ocean even increased, from approximately 5,000 slaves a year in the sixteenth century to over 100,000 slaves a year by the end of the eighteenth century. ??Evolving political circumstances and trade alliances in Africa led to move in the geographic origins of slaves throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Slaves were generally the unlucky victims of territorial expansion by imperialist African states or of invasion led by predatory local strongmen and general population. They found themselves captured and sold as different regional powers came to influence. Firearms, which were often exchanged for slaves, generally increased the level of fighting by lending military strength to previously marginal polities. A nineteenth-century tobacco pipe from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Angola demonstrates the degree to which warfare, the slave trade, and elite arts were tangle at this time (creativity start to emerge). The pipe itself was the prerogative of wealthy and powerful individuals who could afford expensive imported tobacco, generally by trading slaves, while the rifle form makes clear how such slaves were given in the first place. Because of its deadly power, the rifle was added to the collection of theme drawn upon in many regional pictures of rulers and culture heroes as emblematic of power along with the leopard, elephant, and python. The sculptures and masks maintained by the organizations demonstrated to members acute understanding of plants, animals, and spiritual energy. Given the nature of their work and their potential to cause harm, power association leaders investigate their associates and collaborate with caution. Individuals who understand how to handle great power also hold the knowledge to render it ineffective. Although the associations depend on the exchange of information, members carefully guard details about the materials and methods they use to achieve results.
Visiting the Brooklyn Museum created an awareness of the history of Africa and its 53 countries; but most of all, the existence of its many ethnic groups. Many of these groups create masks. Masks in Africa involves a whole performance. The performance includes costumes, dance, sound, and of course, performers and an audience, all of these named masquerade. These masquerades are used in a tree-day-long ceremony to honor the Dagon people who have died. Power association members resist full revealing of the organic and inorganic materials incorporated into their arts. Spectators see porcupine quills, feathers, horns, and other elements added to masks and sculptures, but they cannot observe media packed into cavities or otherwise dark. Power associations promote arts that at once reveal and conceal their most effective and innovative combinations of media and methods of construction.
Performance is an integral part of the organizations statement of power. Power association leaders also earned full-body outfits sewn from locally produced cotton that has been colored in a vegetal bath and covered with bird feathers. Members wear their helmet masks and full-body outfits in elaborate masquerades staged in outside arenas. They demonstrate their dance skills during events designed to identify aggressive action and address threats to individual??™s health and prosperity. The distinctive arts and performances power association??™s sponsor and allow local chapters and their members to earn prestige and differentiate themselves from their competitors. African artists study, for many years, before they can make a mask or costume for a masquerade. Even today, some African artists choose not to get their materials from an art store. They use materials that they find in the village, the forest, or the city.
Modernist artists were tied to African sculpture because of its sophisticated approach to the abstraction of the human figure; for example, a sculpted head from a Fang reliquary ensemble. The Fang sculpture exemplifies the integration of form with function that had created a centuries-old tradition of abstraction in African art before the European colonial period. Attach at the top of a bark vessel, where remains of the most important individuals of an extended family were preserved, the sculptural element can be considered as the embodiment of the ancestors spirit. The representational style is therefore abstract rather than naturalistic.
In the contemporary postcolonial era, the influence of traditional African principle of art and processes is so profoundly install in artistic practice that it is only rarely provoke as such. The increasing globalization of the art world, which now includes contemporary African artists such as Malian photographer Seydou Keita and Ghana-born sculptor El Anatsui, renders, increasingly confused, any term that assumes a segregation between Western and non-Western art. The Primitivism worldview is being committed to the past. It is in efforts to understand the full colors of the study??™s foundations for early modernism that an investigation of African influences in modern art remains relevant today.
Ultimately, the international slave trade is permanent upon the African cultural landscape. Areas that were hit hardest by national conflict and slave invasion suffered from general population decline, and it is believed that the shortage of men, may have changed the structure of many societies by thrusting women into roles previously occupied by their husbands and brothers. Additionally, some scholars have argued that images derive from this era of constant violence have survived to the present day in the form of metaphysical fears and beliefs concerning witchcraft. In many cultures of West and Central Africa, witches are thought to kidnap solitary individuals to enslave or consume them. Finally, the increased exchange with Europeans and the existence of fabulous wealth has turned many states to cultivate sophisticated artistic traditions employing expensive and luxurious materials.
The people should be aware and enjoy the African slavery artist??™s creativity. It??™s an experience just closing your eyes and imagine the masks and costumes, their colors, forms and shapes. Imagine listening to the music, rhythm, sounds of the instruments, performers, dancers, their movement; basically the masquerades. It should be interesting creating your own animal mask. What kind of personality will it have Have a conversation with the mask What shape and color Imagine the voice of an animal. What will the animal??™s voice sound like Be creative, design a costume for your own masquerade ceremony. Think carefully about the mask and the costume. Integrate music and a dance that you will perform as part of your masquerade. This will encourage your creativity, something created on your own. Become an African artist, but very important, be yourself. Look around you and find prospective materials for your mask: wood, metal, porcupine quills, raffia, paint or pigment, animal horn, etc. Be creative, you could make a difference in this world. Be challenging, perfectionist, exploring your imagination and most of all, feel and live what your doing. BE A PROFESSIONAL IN ANY OF THE PERFORMING ARTS??¦ African Artist??¦