The most critical, cultural event that has ever taken place in Kenya has been the attainment of Independence. The triumph of that liberating feat on December 12th, 1963 opened the door for a free Kenyan culture, but its African artists’ talents and contribution to that culture are still yet to be fully realized.
What does Contemporary Art of Africa really present? Invariably, one may find an online gallery of “glossy” photographs, depicting various diverse animals in a variety and multitude of settings and poses. To truly throw this into real African art and to remember the impressions seen whilst on an actual wildlife encounter in Africa, one often feels at one with the continent, if not connected deeply to the animal they see.
I walked up the stairs, there was something that caught my attention. There before me, hanging on a wall, was a very large painting of a woman who was moving in very slow rhythmic waves due to the slight breeze. I stood right in front of the painting and my imagination went wild! “This is a masterpiece! Who did this?” I thought.
Tingatinga African Paintings: From Tanzania to Worldwide Recognition Sourced from Art-Bin.com During the 1960's, Edward S. Tingatinga established an African painting style that became associated with his home country, Tanzania. The name today, "Tingatinga" refers to his form of art in Tanzania and across the world, especially in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Kenya.
That “Contemporary African Art” is a collecting category encompassing 54 countries, 1.1 billion people, over 2,000 spoken languages, multiple thousands of native tribes, and near equally split between the traditions of Islam and Christianity, surely presents a slew of problematics. Africa’s unity lies more in outsiders’ perceptions of geographic continuity. However, contemporary Africa, in all its pluralism, is also united by a seemingly unexpected entity (unexpected especially to those outsiders): art.
In the early 1900’s, European artists were facing a struggle between the avant-garde style that had been established and a more contemporary realism that was emerging. The avant-garde style was daring in its approach, pushing boundaries and negating definitions. The new style, however, focused on the realistic in its proportions, subjects and media.
In the most basic sense, African art is a type of art that originated and is influenced by the number of diverse cultures in Africa.Just as many historians believe that Africa was the birthplace of all mankind, some art experts believe that African art was the beginning of all art. Whether this is true or not, like most other types of art, African art has roots in ancient times.
Most anyone who has any critique of African art has heard the story of a struggling African artist. Whether it be finding the means to pay for materials, finding clients to buy their paintings, or being a victim of exploitive deals from gallery brokers, the African artist generally reflects the story of trying to be successful against all odds.
People in other countries more often consume the market of contemporary African art than Africans themselves.
Take for example the country of Kenya, in East Africa. You will not find framed, original African paintings in most citizens' homes. Furthermore, Kenyans often do not see African art as an official product, and surely do not view it as valuable now or gaining value over a lifetime. It is unfortunate that in Kenya and Africa as a whole, artists are abundant and their paintings very beautiful, but the public citizen does not recognize their talents. Why is this?
Long overlooked on the international arts scene, Kenya is finally gaining prestige on the world stage. Some African artists can now make their living entirely from their artwork and collectors are coming from around the world to buy it.
African paintings first emerged as those that still appear on rock faces and in caves. The first of these was discovered in Namibia, and is thought to be approximately 27,000 years old. There are also an estimated 30.000 rock paintings scattered throughout the incredible Drakensberg Mountain Range in South Africa. This African art medium was used by ancient Africans to convey information, to relate events, to depict everyday life and to communicate with their spirit ancestors. In this way, rock art created an important link between the physical and spiritual realms.
Every time any artist decides to make a painting, they have their own source of inspiration for a given subject, whether it be a realistic inspiration from real life memory or abstract subjects that they represent solely from their imagination. The world surrounding an artist influences what they paint. The mind of the artist is manifested through the paint and brush. Some look to paint abstractly on a political situation.