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Art And Culture

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Art and culture are intertwined like two sides of a coin. One cannot exist without the other. Both have greatly influenced each other heavily for centuries. From the ancient civilizations dating back to thousands of years to the modern age of technology, art has become an integral part of our culture so much so that it has defined and redefined many cultures all over the world. On the other hand, according to the values and traditions of any particular culture, it has influenced art too. Scientific and non-scientific studies have shown art to affect the fundamental sense of self and art has successfully affected how we think, dress, dance etc.

 

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Painting, sculpture, music, literature and the other arts are thought of to be the repository of our memory. Art keeps the past alive framed in canvases something the historical records cannot – how it felt to live at an earlier time. In the past, art began as simple symbols and wood and stone carvings to communicate with people. Primitive people relied much on these to get through their daily lives. Art slowly became more advanced as human societies came up with new and better innovations and we can see a reflection of that in the Egyptian pyramids. Fast forward a few centuries and you can see art dominating cultures and feel its presence in all walks of lives.

 

 

In churches, we see tainted windows and statues and different paintings of Jesus depending on the country. In Islamic culture, a depiction of God or his prophet can never be found but art has manifested itself in the form of calligraphy and intricate geometric patterns. Statues of gods are prevalent but gods of Greek mythology are way different than the Hindu gods implying the deep and diverse impact of culture on art and vice versa. Travel to the east and you will find statues of Buddha along with paintings of dragons and the things that are part and parcel of everyday life of the people of that culture while in the west you won’t find the dragons but be sure to find astounding Roman and Greek era architectural feats and paintings of the many wars and struggles of medieval Europe.

 

 

On the other hand, South Asians boast of their Mughal arts, music, crafts, and architecture and in the Middle East they have their own distinct art, mostly Islamic and Jewish mosaics along with art that has been preserved since the Ottoman ages and pre Islamic eras. Semitic people of the Middle East were more focused on prose and poetry rather than drawings. The influence of art on a particular culture can be very clearly seen as the civilizations on northern and southern side of the Mediterranean came up with art and architecture that are in stark contrast to each other but when they intermingled much have been recreated in the other culture. For example, Spain still has many Moorish arts that are very different than that of central and northern Europe. Art has the power to slowly integrate into a culture even if it is foreign. This can be seen in the case of the European powers which colonized much of the world and their art has defined cultures across the globes teaching many things and showing them new ways of living.

 

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Art has been the voice for many cultures as can be found in Renaissance times where artists like Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael changed their cultures and their societies with their own style of art. It still is even today but now art has found a new face with the advent of modern technology. In the past Chinese and Japanese castles looked very different than south and western Asian mud and brick castles which in turn were very different from the castles of Europe.

 

 

However, today we don’t see much difference between the state of the art buildings and skyscrapers, be it in Hong Kong or USA. There are many underlying similarities in modern art and this has bridged the gap between far distant cultures. Abstract and contemporary artists hailing from different cultures often illustrate similar ideas in their paintings. Art has even permeated the psychedelic cultures giving them a voice of their own. Street art has also been influenced by cultures as in Stateside the walls are filled with graffiti that are gang related while further down into South America the scenario is quite different as the roadside drawings depict grave social problems.

 

 

No matter which culture different artists come from, the language they speak is invariably the same. The purpose is to have an impact and since art is a form of self-expressionism and a means of survival, it will present itself with different faces and voices across cultures.

 

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Writing Source: A Mim Likhon
Image source: Joshua Earle (unsplash)
ART AND CULTURE by The Art & Craft Therapy Room

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