Color has always played a significant role when it comes to African art in both traditional and contemporary society. For many Africans, the colors red, black, and white always had a meaning depending on the community. Red symbolized bloodshed during warfares and childbearing. White was a sign for the ancestors, while black symbolized the unknown. As such, the communities paid so much attention to these colors. They even included them in their paintings.
Lyon’s Musée des Confluences, a France museum, decided to host an ‘Africa in color’ exposition. This was to show how African art has evolved over millions of years. The exhibition highlights the evolution of color in African art and provides step by step detailed information. Therefore it is informative enough as it takes people back in time, providing a vision of the past chronological events of the African culture.
Significance Of Color In African Art
Colors and materials in different shades brought some life to art. Despite whether it was industrial paint, color extracts from plants, or colored beads. Color changes the whole appearance of a painting, making it more impressive and attractive. Back in time, artists used pearls of different colors to decorate their portraits.
Jewelry is also a form of art in the African community. They were a symbol for young men who had undergone circumcision or been married. Maïnig Le Bacquer, the chief of the exhibition said:
“We see that pearls were used very early on in local production and imports coming from Egypt, India, and then came trade with Europe. Jewelry was a separate kind of art that was used to communicate the status of young people, to be married women, young initiated people.”
Similarly, clothes in African society were a work of art. Depending on the community, traditional attires distinguished people of different social status. Although in traditional communities, the people used to dress in hides and skin, one could differentiate the council of elders from the civilians. Meanwhile, in contemporary societies, some communities still uphold their cultures. Hence the chiefs and council of elders are responsible for maintaining law and order. For instance, in Nigeria, the chief wears a necklace that is quite different from the one council of elders wear.
This exhibition will be on till the 22nd of August 2021. Thus, providing adequate time for people to explore numerous hidden colorful treasures from African craftsmen.
An Opportunity for African Artists
Through displaying famous portraits, sculptures, and paintings of African arts, Lyon’s Musée des Confluences enables many to learn about the history of Africans. Most of these paintings reflect on what the African communities in both traditional and contemporary societies underwent. Most of these paintings are often related to the history and the beauty of a place. Moreover, such a diverse display of contemporary and traditional artwork earns some of these artists’ recognition.
Lyon’s Musée des Confluences is a famous museum that attracts curious visitors from all walks of the globe. Therefore, some of these visitors may likely support great upcoming artists from Africa. Hence the exhibition is a lifetime opportunity for African artists.