Paintings from South Africa
South Africa is a place where everything inspires to create. Breathtaking landscapes of the Dark Continent and unique nature made the first people who lived there search for art methods to depict the outstanding beauty of the world they saw around.
Prehistoric and colonial art
The oldest examples of African art are cave wall paintings in Drakensberg mountains which depict scenes of San Bushmen lives — tribes that inhabited South Africa between 2 000 B.C. and 19th century when colonists drove them out. This complex of pictures is a part of UNESCO world heritage as a unique representation of tribal spiritual tradition. This is also an important historical document which explains the way of life and beliefs of prehistoric people.
During the colonial era which began in the 19th century artists mostly depicted the landscapes in accurate European painting style trying to show the beauty of nature which was completely different to European. Artists travelled across the continent depicting nature and people, and that were the first documents that Old World received about the New World as Africa was called at that time.
Art in South Africa in 20th century
The 20th century African art is divided onto before and after apartheid art. The 20–30s of the twentieth century were a years of changing the point of view on landscape painting and introducing first Expressionist and Impressionist works that scandalized the traditional society.
During the apartheid time South African art flourished, but it was an art created by white people — black artists were neglected. But examples of European art produced by white population influenced traditional African art, and since 1950s up to now. Artists painted African pictures with a help of European techniques and media.
In the same time black inhabitants of South Africa developed their own style depicting their everyday life, mostly in Surrealist manner. Black art played an important role in the fall of apartheid which became extremely repressing in 1970–80s. At this period artists created social artworks that showed, for examples, police tortures of imprisoned people. Painting were a simple language that all population could understand.
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