The first 4 elements of African art are intrinsic ideals of African people throughout many regions. They describe the art’s intuitive, religious, and aesthetic values. Westerners have not always appreciated African art, but as time has passed, people have begun to see their art less as an object for decoration and more as an object for contemplation. African art fulfils these virtues by producing simple forms with complex meaning, which is why we choose to examine it here.
Resemblance to the Human Form
African artists impart value to a carved object through abstract representation. Instead of creating an idea that’s realistic or true to life, their work has a more transcendent quality. Artists seldom represent actual people, real animals, or the realistic form of invisible spirits. Instead, they aim to represent ideas about reality, spirituality or humanity, and present these ideas in animal or human form.
The smooth surface of most African sculpture is often embellished with decorative scarification, which indicates stunningly healthy skin. Likewise, figures with rough surfaces and deformities are intended to appear ugly and morally flawed.
The element of self-composure is that which expresses a sense of absolute self-assurance, control, and emotional neutrality.
A youthful appearance depicts the act of being productive, fertile, and an ability to fight. Sickness and deformity are rarely depicted in African art because they are signs of evil.