Ques: How have your images of Africa changed after today’s class on African ivories? Please link images and texts related to your reflections.
My first impression about africa or black people is from the book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly”. It talks about the miserable life that black people are sold as slaves, they have no human rights, they got killed without reason. I was about 12 years old when I read that book, and I was shocked and confused, how can people treat other human beings like that, like they dont have mind or soul.
This course” Art in the age of Colonialism” is actually a heavy course. All these arts were covered with bloods and tears. Still, these arts are beautiful and valuable. These artistic productions are the result of the great period of discovery from the latter half of the fifteenth through the sixteenth centuries, which is also generally referred to as the Age of Exploration.
Looking back at the history, we can now appreciate the collision between western and african art and tradition, the beauty of western aesthetics being apply on african ivories, the power and luxury lifestyle of the rulers and merchants. However, I cant help but to think, will Africa and its people have a different life if they were never exploited like that?
For sure, their world was opened and they got to get in touch of new knowledge and technology. However, some of their culture was abruptly stopped and obliterated. Maybe, it will takes them thousands years more to develope to current civilisation, but they would have a more solid and colorful civilisation than nowadays. I guess.
All in all, i just feel that we are too used to use the western standard of civilisation to measure the rest of the world. Have anyone ever thought that people in the rest of the world actually have a happier life before the westerners intruded into their life and brought “civilisation” to them?