Visual Art Paper 1, Nov/Dec. 2012  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Main
General Comments
Question 4
  1. Compare the traditional West African art and Western art.
  2. Write on the influence of West African art on Western art.




This was not a popular question among the candidates as it is among the questions evaded by most of the candidates. Unfortunately, majority of the few candidates that attempted this question performed badly and thus, could not earn the obtainable marks. They were expected to respond to the question as follows:

(a)        -           Western art emphasizes accurate proportion and realistic representation
of human forms while traditional West African art places less emphasis on realistic representation of human forms; which are idealized according to societal beliefs. E.g. the human head may be exaggerated because of the belief that it is the abode of human glory. Human genitals may also be exaggerated for the importance attached to fertility.

-           the primary focus of Western art was the need to please the sense of sight (aesthetics) while the traditional African art was utilized in maintaining healthy relationship / communication with the supernatural world.

-           West African art follows a convention while Western art emphasizes freedom of expression.

-           Western artists use sophisticated tools and materials while West African artists use simple tools and materials.

-           in Western art, training is through formal education while in traditional West African art, training is by apprenticeship.

(b)        -           European  artists, such as Picasso encountered African art and became
                        inspired by the simplified geometric forms.

-           the inspiration received by Picasso led to an interest in abstraction and reorganization / simplification of forms in Western art.
-           the new interest altered the focus of Western art to stylized and non- representational forms.

-           Pablo Picasso and some other European artists were inspired into experimentations that led to the emergence of a significant movement in modern art; Cubism.

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