Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Arts and Craft: What They Sometimes Portray!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

If you live in or travel to Africa very often then you certainly are familiar with Africa’s great works of art and craft. Some of the crafts and artisan objects originate from the continent’s rich and diversified culture. Others attempt to depict everyday life, humanity, attitudes, believes, myths and realities. Perhaps that’s the beauty behind every piece of art!

While on the field as a culture desk reporter (2003-2005), I had the chance of interviewing a cross section of artists and artisans so too did my love for art and craft increased. Often I sought to understand what some works of art actually signified. For instance a painting could carry a message of hope. Sometimes that of suffering or love; to name but these.
I must admit my love for arts and craft has kind of doubled over time. Every piece I come across I tend to appreciate it and sometimes I would purchase it. I equally take delight in snapping or filming some of them. I sometimes put my imagination to test by crafting something! I may not be good at craft but I guess I could make an appreciation of what I see!

This is perhaps the most annoying piece of art/craft I have ever come across. I walked into an “open- air African designed restaurant”, decorated with beautiful calabashes and nice paintings; depicting a typical African village setting. Behold I saw these “nude-feminine-structured works of art”.
I pulled out my camera to get some shots I would use on my blog. As I took these photos I noticed some Europeans were doing same and I kept wondering why some artists would rather portray "nude feminine objects" as if that’s all a woman’s got to show! Unfortunately some artists/sculptors are specialized in carving such pieces!

“She” is rather decent. In most African cultural and traditional settings the woman is obliged to cover her body (at least her private) while in public just like the man. Ironically, many works of art that seek to portray African men, are hardly left unclad (if not partially).
This is a case in point (a photo I took at the same venue).

Generally, I hold women in high esteem not just because I am a woman ! A woman is worth respecting! She has many virtues known to many of us. Of course as a human being she has her own weaknesses! That notwithstanding I believe she is a lovely human being, full of dignity! Seemingly and unfortunately so, the "woman" is yet to completely wipe off the "negative and sometimes indecent tags" her society continues to put on her. If only she could be perceived by many (especially artists)from a more decent perspective, perhaps…………………..!!!!!!!!!


PreXav said...

This is a wonderful posting. I have also been wondering why girls and women would show their nudity while dancing, while the men don't? Take for instance Bikutsi that we love so much, the female dancers are always almost naked... maybe that is where some artists get their inspiration from. I won't crucify them, but will ask women to respect their bodies because it is the temple of God Almighty.

mabsfominyen said...

Thanks indeed!

Nengela said...

Good piece there my dear. I think if the woman starts speaking out about the disrespect shown towards her form, then mankind will come to speed. In the past women were looked upon as good for nothing but child bearing. This is exactly what the artist are trying to portal in their work of arts and which ends up being disgusting. In addition, the society has made some women and girls to believe that nudity is strength. Although women have shown their strength in every sphere of life and living, some people are still stuck in the past and in arts work still think of women as nothing but a sex figure. Thanks for bringing this to light. Hope all changes pretty soon.

Chris said...

Hello Mabi,
Congratulations on your blog. Love it. Glad to know you followed through with your dreams to be a succesful journalist. I am definitely not surprised. You were born to be a star. It feels good to meet you in the blogosphere. I remember those wonderful days in SAC. Seems like just yesterday. Wow!!!
I will definitely be back from time to time to check it out. I love the art work.
Keep it up girl!!!!

mabsfominyen said...

Hi Nengela,

Thanks for your very meaningful contribution. Great insights!

Hi Chris,
Oh my! thanks for visiting and appreciating my blog. I am humbled when you say I was born to be a star! I pray "it" continues to shine with the help of God.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about beauty pageant. Eventhough we are more enlightened today that generations ago, women are still judged by such basial qualities as physical beauty. they go on bikinis for show case as part routines for judges to evaluate. How demeaning. When women have a lot more to show for. Intellect, creativity, CEO mums etc.

mabsfominyen said...

Dear Elga,

Thank you for visiting my blog.Thank you too for the very pertinent contribution.