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Read more about The Bright Continent: African Art History

The Bright Continent: African Art History

(2 reviews)

Kathy Curnow, Cleveland State University

Copyright Year: 2018

Publisher: MSL Academic Endeavors

Language: English

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Reviewed by Roann Barris, Professor, art history and ethics, Radford University on 5/24/22

Ity contains a lot of material but the organization is confusing and seems to correspond more closely to an introduction to art textbook than an introduction to African art history. read more

Reviewed by Tammy Cotton-Jennings, Lecturer/Art, Leeward Community College on 12/2/21

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

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

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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

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