African art and culture: a tool for the social, political and economic development of Africa
The cultural and artistic productions of Africa have several dimensions that emphasize the central role that art plays in the development of societies. This justifies why art and life and social progress are intertwined. This article explains the influence of art on the social, political and economic development of African societies.
African art is related to the development of the total life of Africans. This includes the styles of dress, eating habits, values and norms of African society. It also encompasses the use of art and our cultural heritage to address social issues facing ethnic societies on the African continent. Many modern societies in Africa are challenged by teenage pregnancy, environmental pollution, and other forms of social vice. Strategies and solutions to these staggering problems can be found in the strong values, norms, belief systems and practices in Africa. For example, many scholars in African studies and cultures are calling for a revision and revival of indigenous practices of rites of passage for young men that ensured that young men maintain moral chastity, including abstinence from premarital sex and all other forms of sexual intercourse. social vices associated with today’s youth. It was the measure put in place by the older members of the societies by introducing the mantle of leadership to the youth. Initiation rites were platforms to keep young people aware of their social duties as responsible adults.
In addition, African cosmological belief systems also call for living in harmony with nature while making sustainable use of nature’s resources. Finding ways to implement these precepts in modern African societies could boost their social development. In addition, African art and culture discover the linguistic diversities of Africa. It traces the historical development of languages, which is the first step in understanding the cultures of a people. Studying the various forms of art, including clothing, color choice, design elements, shapes, etc., helps to understand the social classes and personalities in African society.
Politically, African art and culture play a fundamental role in the political life of Africans. Political artifacts serve as a means to identify and define the political roles of rulers such as traditional chiefs, spokespersons, traditional priests, etc. The political arts empower the ruling class in Africa to perform their priestly duties; exercise their administrative, executive, judicial and military functions.
Economically, the various forms of African art improve the standard of living of Africans. The production and use of the arts meet the needs of people in society, either directly or indirectly. The direct means of producing works of art to meet the needs of the people is through the sale of the works of art and the use of them to carry out their daily activities. It also involves the use of art forms as incentives to increase the production of other goods and services in the community to improve the general well-being of the people. The study of African art and culture highlights the role of art in creating vocations and job opportunities for members of society. These vocations in the arts will equip young people with nourishment that will provide them with searching skills so they can provide a livelihood for themselves and their families. The great wealth of works of art is an asset for society. In times of economic stress, works of art can be sold to improve people’s living conditions. The court artists who produce the general state furnishings such as stools, palanquins, speakers, textiles, and others generate economic income from them. Counterfeit copies of some of the chief’s insignia are produced as souvenir items and exchanged for foreign coins. During festivals and other cultural events in Africa, these regalia souvenir items are sold to the general public, especially tourists, generating monetary income. This greatly enhances the tourism industry of the countries in Africa.
The article highlights the great benefits that African societies can derive from the arts and culture practiced by the people. African governments, ministries and NGOs in charge of the development of art, culture and tourism must ensure the development of this field. Funding in the form of scholarships, research grants and awards should be made available to young scholars, researchers and artists to enhance the study of African art and culture because it is a pinnacle of Africa’s social, political and economic development.