How Does Art Embrace Different Cultures?

Culture, tradition and history can often be found in the world of art. An aboriginal painting from Australia or a carved statue made by the hands of indigenous Africans can give us a lot of valuable information about the way these peoples live and perceive the world.

Art is one of the best flagbearers of culture, but how exactly does art embrace different cultures and traditions from around the world? Here are some answers with interesting examples.

#1: Cultural Art Helps Us See into the Past

Art from some cultures around the world helps the rest of society, and especially art historians and scientists, to know more about what came before. A picture may tell a story connected to that culture and give us a greater insight into an event or a way of life and thinking within a group.

Art, in this case, helps write the history of the culture into the history books – so it is never forgotten.

#2: Cultural Art Comforts Displaced Populations

Globalisation has caused many groups to move around the world. Sometimes other – and much sadder – reasons have displaced populations due to famine or war.

These peoples are thrown into new countries with unfamiliar surroundings or language, and it can be difficult for them to adapt. In these cases, art from their culture placed around their home can be used as comfort. The art of their culture can be a positive reminder of their history and origins.

#3: Cultural Art Raises Awareness

When we think of cultural art, it is easy for our minds to wander back to smaller groups of people and groups that have existed on the periphery to globalisation. Small tribes, indigenous populations and similar groups are easily conjured, but we often forget about contemporary western culture.

Some art helps raise awareness of an issue in our own culture to make a statement. A fantastic example of this was made by Jen Brockman. Her installation, What Were You Wearing? is composed of 18 outfits worn by victims of sexual assault in order to confront and break the myth that victims are to blame for their choice in clothing. 

The art highlights a dark area of culture, but also makes a positive impact in exposing society to an issue that is discussed but never really seen.

So, How Does Art Embrace Culture?

Using the three examples above, it is clear to see that art can be used in vastly different ways to highlight, embrace or even shock a culture. The relationship between art and culture is extensive, whether it is grasping history, comforting people or starting a conversation. 

There may not be a simple answer to how art embraces a culture. In some way, all art embraces culture for different effect.

Can You Buy Cultural Art?

If all art can be somewhat classed as cultural art, then it is of course available to buy. When referring to cultural art as artistic works from smaller groups or indigenous peoples, it is also possible to purchase. 

Some art from these groups is highly desired because of its rarity and unique insight into the world. For example, Emily Kame Kngwarreye is an indigenous artist that sold a painting for over $2 million. Yet, some works from indigenous groups are more affordable to the everyday art lover.

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