Conditions of Use
For an introductory level textbook, this one had a wealth of information that I will pick and choose from. It was especially helpful, to readers who have no former experience with Africa as a continent and/or the art and artists of the "Bright... read more
For an introductory level textbook, this one had a wealth of information that I will pick and choose from. It was especially helpful, to readers who have no former experience with Africa as a continent and/or the art and artists of the "Bright Continent". Unfortunately, there is neither an index nor a glossary, which I believe would be useful to students. However, explanations for terms that are in bold throughout the text, do point out important vocabulary and concepts. Perhaps In future editions, with a glossary added, there will also be an e-text format to link the words to their place in the glossary.
The content appears to be accurate, but my knowledge of the subject limits my ability to comment on that. I found no bias from the author's point of view.
Overall, this is a book that with added information could be used for years to come. I found the contemporary art section a little small, and would have liked more.
This book is clear and accessible for beginning students. There were a few places where there was some repetition but overall lucid and easy to follow.
Reading this book, I found minor issues with the framework. The order of the chapters seemed random at times. For example, Contemporary art may have been better served at the end of the book, rather than in Chapter 1.
In Chapter 1.2: Gender, Materials, Techniques in Traditional Art, the author presents the difference between subtractive and additive sculpting, but I would like to see this explained at the very beginning of the chapter. The author makes the case that "traditional African art restricts the use of certain materials to a specific gender—in most cases.” It is important to point this out, but there are too many contradictions to the gender restrictions cited throughout, making it seem. a bit repetitive.
It is wonderful that this book starts with perception…orientation..maps and the true size of Africa. The visuals are well presented, if a little dated. The topics could be presented in a more logical order. Also, there is a chart with the Learning Objectives starting in Chapter 2, but why none in Chapters 1, 3, and Chapter 4?
There are some links that don't work. Page 147 links to Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe (photography). There are also many instances where the text and the Fig.s used didn't align.
No issues were found, but the prose is a little dry in places, and reads like an older textbook.
I didn't find any instances of anything culturally insensitive or offensive. This book is successful in giving an unbiased account of the wonders of art from Africa.
I really enjoyed reviewing this book and learning more about a topic that I was not very familiar with. I walk away with an introductory understanding of the history of African art. There are a few issues, as noted, but I do plan on using parts of the text in my Introductory to Visual Art class, and appreciate the work that went into creating this text. It feels a little dated to me, but that can easily be updated, either by the author or instructors choosing to use certain areas of the text. Overall, this book is a success. It has inspired me to share more of the "Bright Continent," with my students.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Orientation to Africa and its Art
- Chapter 1.1: General Introduction
- Chapter 1.2: Gender, Materials, Techniques in Traditional Art
- Chapter 1.3: Training and Patronage in Traditional Art
- Chapter 1.4: Contemporary African Art: Materials, Gender and Training
- Chapter 1.5: Patronage in Contemporary African Art
- Chapter 2: Analyzing and Discussing African Art
- Chapter 2.1 Elements of Design
- Chapter 2.2 Principles and Considerations of Design
- Chapter 2.3 "Rules" for Traditional African Art
- Chapter 2.4 Stylistic Analysis
- Chapter 2.5 Contextual Analysis
- Chapter 3: Themes in African Art
- Chapter 3.1 Animals
- Chapter 3.2 Coupling Up
- Chapter 3.3 Motherhood
- Chapter 3.4 Art and Youth Initiation
- Chapter 3.5 Art and Medicine
- Chapter 3.6: Art and Divination
- Chapter 3.7 Art and Death
- Chapter 3.8 Portraiture
- Chapter 3.9 African Art as Inspiration
- Chapter 4: The Impact of Religion and Hierarchy on African Art
- Chapter 4.1 Traditional Religion and Art
- Chapter 4.2 Christianity and Art
- Chapter 4.3 Islam and Art
- Chapter 4.4 Art in Nomadic Societies
- Chapter 4.5 Art in Small-Scale Communities
- Chapter 4.6 Kingdom-based art
About the Book
This book aims to act as your map through the world of African art. As such, it will help you define the competencies you need to develop–visual analysis, research, noting what information is critical, asking questions, and writing down your observations–and provide opportunities for you to practice these skills until you are proficient. It will also expose you to new art forms and the worlds that produced them, enriching your understanding and appreciation.
This is an ongoing project. Your text will not be complete the day you first click on it, but will be written as we proceed through the course. Because it will be used for other courses beyond your own, you may find that it includes materials beyond those your class demands. Encourage your curiosity–chase after it.
About the Contributors
Kathy Curnow, Cleveland State University